FIJI NEWS

Arson fears

China engineers, firefighters battle fire for almost two hours By SHEIK DEAN Engineers working on the Rakiraki bridge are still in shock following a fire that threatened to burn their
15 Aug 2013 11:16

China engineers, firefighters battle fire for almost two hours

By SHEIK DEAN

Engineers working on the Rakiraki bridge are still in shock following a fire that threatened to burn their living quarters and explode a fuel tank.
The cottage housing the China Railway No.5 engineering group was threatened in a fire which started from a sugarcane field that is located behind the staff quarters.
Commercial manager Jack Guo alleged that the cane fire was a deliberate act and they could have been the target.
It is believed that the cane fire started about 12.50am yesterday.
“We have 10 Chinese engineers at the quarters and we are lucky to be safe. The company yard stores more than a tonne of diesel fuel daily for machineries,” Mr Guo said.
“Our staff quarters are made up of pre-designed plastic walls which are easier to move around and made of highly inflammable materials.”
Apart from the diesel tank the company storage shed also holds compressed industrial acetylene and machinery.
Had the fire reached the fuel tank there would have been an explosion and the fire could have spread to Rakiraki Village, which is home to more than 200 villagers.
“We are thankful for the timely response from National Fire Authority in preventing the fire to spread to our quarters,” he said.
Mr Guo said it took almost two hours to fight the fire and they also used the company’s water trucks to help the firefighters battle the flames.
“We are still figuring out if the fire was meant for the sugarcane field or the company,” Mr Guo said.
Meanwhile, Police spokesperson Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said they were investigating the incident.
Cane cutters were now harvesting the burnt cane.
NFA chief executive officer John O’Connor said firefighters from Rakiraki fire station attended the call.
The owner of the burnt sugarcane field refused to comment.

TOP: The staff quarters of the China Railway engineering group, made up of pre-designed plastic walls, is located next to the diesel tank which was threatened by fire. Photo: SHEIK DEAN



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