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Family Flees Early Morning Fire

Family Flees Early Morning Fire
Sakuisa Buladuadua (left), Elena Kutouci, Veniana Vunimoli and Sairusi Banuve in front of their house that was destroyed by a fire in Naikabula, Lautoka, on July 29, 2018. Photo:: Yogesh Chandra.
July 30
12:41 2018


A  family of four of Naikabula, Lautoka, is homeless after fleeing an early morning fire with just the clothes on their backs.

Sairusi Banuve, 39, his wife Veniana Vunimoli, 39, and their daughter Eleni Kutouci, 14, were asleep when the fire started early last Saturday.

Their son, Sakuisa Buladuadua, 20, was away at the time.

Ms Vunimoli recalled the incident and described it as the most painful and shocking for the family.

“The fire started at around 1 in the morning,” she said.

“We were asleep, but were awakened by the smoke inside our house.

“The fire started from the kitchen and by the time we woke up, the fire had already engulfed half the house.”

Mrs Vunimoli said that the first thing on her mind was the safety of her family.

“We just ran out of the house without saving any belongings. It was too late to take out any stuff,” she added.

“When we got outside we watched hoplesly as the fire took away our house.”

Mrs Vunimoli said she had been living in the house for the past 14 years and all her memories were snatched in just an instance.

“We really had a lot of good memories inside the house,” she said.

She described the night before the fire, saying it was one filled with joy.

“We had our dinner and laughed and we were very happy. We never knew or thought this would happen.

“We are lost, everything is gone now.”

Describing the scene was really painful for Mrs Vunimoli.

However, she said, she was more concerned about her daughter, who is a Year 9 student at Tilak High School.

“I do not know how I will even send her to school tomorrow (today),” Mrs Vunimoli said.

She was hopeful that her daughter, who lost her stationery, bag and uniforms in the fire, could resume classes this week.

Mrs Vunimoli said re-equipping her daughter for school would be a major challenge.

Mr Banuve said the family was without food, shelter or clothing and had built a shelter from tarpaulins beside the wreckage of their burnt-out home to live in temporarily.

“It gets very cold at night and we do not have any bedsheets or blankets or anything,” he said.

Mr Banuve had been living in the house since his childhood and said seeing the effect of the fire was excruciating for him.

The family is hopeful that assistance will be provided for them.

Police officers have already been to the house to inspect it, but the family were waiting for the o National Fire Authority officers before clearing the debris.

Meanwhile, in a separate fire at Itatoko in Ba last Friday, a three-bedroom house was completely destroyed.

A joint investigation by Police and National Fire Authority is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

No casualties were reported.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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