NATION

‘Fire Risks At Low Cost Housing’

There is a high risk of fire spreading in low-cost housing, says Suva City Council acting chief executive officer Bijay Chand. Mr Chand was responding to comments made by the
18 Jul 2015 12:27
‘Fire Risks At Low Cost Housing’
Shiumati Shalvin Roy (right), and her family having breakfast near the remains of their house that was destroyed in fire on Tuseday. Photo: Aqela Susu

There is a high risk of fire spreading in low-cost housing, says Suva City Council acting chief executive officer Bijay Chand.

Mr Chand was responding to comments made by the National Fire Authority (NFA) following the fire at Barnett Lane, Howell Road, Suva, on Tuesday night. The incident left more than 30 people homeless and five families left to ponder on their future.

Mr Chand said the fire spread quickly because the homes were too close to each other.

He said the homes were on a squatter settlement, which was subdivided by a previous government as a low-cost housing project.

This, he said, was done to improve the living conditions of residents in providing basic amenities like tar-sealed access roads, piped water and electricity supply and provision of proper drainage and sewer systems.

“Since this is a low-cost housing residential subdivision, there is dispensation on the boundary yard clearance of three metres on the front and rear yard and 1.5 metres on each side. Most of these residents are average or below income earners who are finding it difficult to build proper building structures to meet and comply with the National Building Code,” Mr Chand said.

“The minimum setback requirement in other residential classes is six metres on front and rear yard and three metres on each side yard. So you can see that there is a much higher risk of fire spreading in low-cost housing areas as opposed to other residential areas where the setback is twice more than in low-cost housing subdivision.”

Meanwhile, National Fire Authority chief executive officer John O’Connor, said investigations at the fire scene had been completed.

They would consult the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA) for more data and information before a report could be released next Monday.

Feedback:  aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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