Fire deaths worry

SEVEN people have died in house fires over a period of five months this year.

For the fire authority and Government, this figure should be of great concern.

In the Western Division, six people perished in house fires.

In June, 37-year-old Kamlesh Reddy died while he was asleep at his home in Velovelo, Lautoka.

In August, four people perished in their home at Valele, Ba in an early morning blaze.

The deceased were Emele Udolu, 53, her 23-year-old daughter Alka Dutt, and her two brothers who were visiting the family from Ra.

The latest incident was of 61-year-old Anil Anjali who died about 5am after celebrating Diwali with her family.

In the Central Division, a four-year-old toddler whose father was away on tour in the Middle East was killed in a blaze in Smith Rd, Vugalei near Lami.

Aside from the loss of lives, the National Fire Authority (NFA) has also expressed concern over the loss of properties.

From January to June, the NFA recorded a total of 41 structural house fires compared with 34 for the same period last year.

NFA board chairman Commander Francis Kean shared his concerns about the fires.

“The passing of the 61-year-old lady at Lautoka is very sad,” he said.

“NFA calls out again to all our citizens to exercise fire safety at all times. The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ never fails.”

He said NFA remained committed to spreading the word on fire safety.

“We have run numerous daily advertisements throughout the week, conducted radio talkback shows, delivered media releases and gone out to the community to spread the message of fire safety.

“Fire safety must be exercised at all times in our homes, our schools, our businesses and our communities and not only during Diwali.

“NFA implores all citizens to take heed of our fire safety advice, tips and practise them 24/7 throughout the year.

“Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

He said the authority would be carrying out its investigations of the two incidents in Lautoka and Labasa.

“These two incidents in Rara Ave, Labasa and Vitogo in Lautoka were reported to the NFA through the Fiji Police Force who handled 911 emergency calls.

“The response to these two fire incidents was conducted in a timely manner upon receipt of these calls.

“NFA will be conducting its own investigation into these two incidents.”

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