Hero recounts horror
A Swami Vivekananda College student yesterday recounted how he saved the lives of two siblings who were caught inside their house which caught fire at Korovuto, Nadi on Friday afternoon.
But 17-year-old Waisea Volavola’s brave act could not save the life of a one-year and two months old girl who perished in the same fire.
“When someone needs help we should not hold back, I thought about the two when I heard their cry for help so I put their lives before mine,” the Nadroga lad said.
The ﬁfth former said he was relaxing at home after school and he heard about the incident from his sister who was outside.
“I had returned from school, had tea, changed and relaxed on the bed. It was after 4.30pm. The rest of my family was at home too.
“One of my sisters came out of our house and saw smoke coming out of our neighbour’s house. Then she yelled out to me. From the window I saw that smoke was coming out, and then I ran to the verandah outside to see clearly. I was afraid to go near it since this was the first house fire I’ve ever seen.
“Then my aunt came and said for us to do something, but no one moved, so I thought to save someone. When I came near I could feel the heat, and then I looked through a window, I saw the two kids sitting on the bed crying. I tried to open the window but could not so I punched the louvre blades.
Mr Volavola said he tried to pull the girl out but she refused to reach out.
“Then the fire reached the bed and she got burned. With the heat coming near she moved towards me and I managed to pull her out by grabbing her clothes. By then my sisters were behind me and they carried her out and I pulled out the brother also.
“We all stood and watched as the house went into flames. After few minutes their mother came running and she asked about her children, and she saw the two but she asked me of the younger one but I kept quiet and did not answer her question.
According to a Police statement the two toddlers are admitted in hospital for burns after their lean-to house was completely destroyed together with its contents.
It is alleged that their mother, a 21-year old housewife had gone to the shop and had locked the house doors from outside leaving the three children in the house, unsupervised.
When the Fiji Sun arrived at the scene yesterday, the father of the children Ahmed Iqbal Hussein, 36, was with his other two children at Nadi Hospital.
The tragic death of the one-year old baby girl is the ninth property fire death and the fifth death involving young children this year which now brings the number of structural fire incidents so far this year to 59.
National Fire Authority chief executive officer John O’Connor said the recent spate of residential fires is of concern to the Authority.