Two Nakasi Houses Destroyed, 17 People Homeless After Blaze

Three youths help vendor move to safety, remove gas cylinders from burning shop. Then cylinders lost.
02 Dec 2021 14:17
Two Nakasi Houses Destroyed, 17 People Homeless After Blaze
Firefighters at Sita’s Shop & Save shop in Nakasi Rd on December 1, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Seventeen people are left without homes as a fire in Nakasi Road in Nakasi destroyed two houses yesterday.

The fire started from the back of Sita’s Shop N Save shop and latched onto the neighbouring home belonging to 75-year-old Mohammad Shah.

The owner of the shop, Sujit Chand, and his family had left for the Western Division on a planned family vacation.

Their home was connected to the shop.

Next door, Mohammed Shah had just left his home to go to a mosque. His daughter Nehzra Shah was home alone. His son Mohammed Irfan had gone to work.

The fire is believed to have started from the back of the shop.

Kuruisalive Roko, 60, along with his wife Miliana Buvere, as usual, had come to sell their vegetables in front of the shop.

“It was after 9.30am, almost 10 when the smoke became thick. We realised that the building was on fire,” he said.

“My wife and I quickly gathered our vegetables and we ran across the road.”

He said the firefighters arrived in good time and had to cut through the bolts and locks to enter the shop.

Nakasi youths Sevuloni Batule, Solomone Lagilagi and John Fox helped the elderly couple move.

The trio also moved 30 plus gas cylinders away from the shop to prevent it from exploding.

The gas tanks mysteriously disappeared as the crowd gathered.


The Shah family

The Shah family had been living next to the shop for more than 30 years. Yesterday, the elderly Mr Shah as usual made a trip to the nearby mosque.

He did not realise that the building next to his home was on fire.

His son, Mohhamed Irfan had gone to work and his daughter was home.

Ms Shah only realised that the building next door was on fire when smoke filled her home. She ran out of her home unable to save anything.

As their home burned and crumbled into a rubble, the father and children sat across the road and wept. Their home for more than 30 years was no more.

However, the community had come together and offered them a place to stay.

The Shah’s tenants, a family of eight, have also lost everything.


The lucky neighbour

Rameshwar Chand was luckier than the Shah family. The wind direction helped keep the flames away from his house which was on the other side of the shop.

Mr Chand said it was fortunate that the gas tanks were moved and the kerosene tank did not explode.

“The generator is also kept next to the fence. Until now, I have been using a hosepipe from my side to spray water,” he said.

Meanwhile, the shop owner, Sujit Chand and his family had to cut their vacation short and return to what was once their livelihood.

Investigations are underway.




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