PM commends firefighters’ efforts

Fiji's Minister for Local Government Parveen Kumar with the fire fighters who were part of the Cessna 172 operation team at the Delaikoro mountain range. Picture: FILE/SERAFINA SILAITOGA

EFFORTS made by the National Fire Authority personnel in the North while retrieving the bodies of the Pacific Flying School’s Cessna 172 crash victims in March this year were recognised by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday.

Officiating at the opening of the fire station at Naqelekula, Savusavu, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji’s resilience and preparedness seems to be tested time and again.

Mr Bainimarama said in February this year, the nation was saddened by the news of the fatal Cessna 172 plane crash in the North.

“We were, however, amazed by the rescue efforts put in by all our emergency agencies and, in particular, the rescue skills displayed by our very own firefighters in the North,” he said.

“Their rescue operation was very risky, where they risked their safety and their lives in this operation. “Their skillfulness and bravery enabled the team to successfully complete the operation.

“I commend the National Fire Authority team, members of the Fiji Police and the Military, Commissioner Northern’s team as well as the respective villagers in the North for total support and unity in committing to this risky operation.”

Opening the $3.7 million fire station, Mr Bainimarama said it was the third newly constructed fire station to be opened in the North in a span of one year, after the opening of the new Seaqaqa and Taveuni fire stations early last year.

“It is a Government-supported investment despite the many challenges faced by NFA over the two years of civil and construction works, including the impact of Cyclone Winston in 2016,” he said.

“I believe its completion has come at an opportune time as it will complement the thriving economic opportunities in Savusavu for the protection of investments and economic activities through early mitigation of fires and other emergencies.”

Savusavu resident, Tony McPherson said he hoped the new facility would boost NFA’s services during times of emergencies.

The site of the new fire station was leased to NFA by the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma.