Nearby dwellers blamed for fire catastrophe

Smoke from Vunato Dump hovers over nearby settlements. Yesterday, string winds directed the smoke over Lovu, Buabua, Drasa and Vitogo. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

PEOPLE living in communities near the Vunato Dump in Lautoka said they did not start the fire which resulted in smoke spreading over the Sugar City over the past five days.

At 5pm yesterday, smoke from the dump still hovered over Buabua, Lovu and Drasa. Residents living next to the rubbish dump site vented frustration for being blamed for the blaze.

California, Lovu Seaside and Veidogo settlement spokesman Manueli Sovau said people were making wild claims without basing them on facts or evidence.

“There have been some reports saying that we had started the fire but I have been moving around to all the houses asking people what they knew and all of them said they were surprised when the fire started,” he said.

“People shouldn’t point fingers at us because we have been living here for many years and none of us want to cause any trouble.”

He said the Lautoka City Council had stopped people from entering the dump site.

“I spoke with some officials from the Department of Environment and they asked me to assist them in surveying the area, but I couldn’t go in because security was very tight.”

Council chief executive officer Jone Nakauvadra maintained that work on defusing the raging fire and smoke from the dump continued alongside firefighters from the National Fire Authority.

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