NATION

Lautoka Fire Destroys Family’s Christmas

It was a tragic wake up to Christmas Day for a family of four at Balawa Road in Field 40, Lautoka. Their flat was razed by fire. Isimeli Savutini, 42,
27 Dec 2016 11:00
Lautoka Fire Destroys Family’s Christmas
Isimeli Savutini points out to the primus in the other flat which he believes was the cause of the fire which also destroyed his home completely at Riffle Range in Lautoka on Sunday. Photo:SHALVEER SINGH AUJLA

It was a tragic wake up to Christmas Day for a family of four at Balawa Road in Field 40, Lautoka. Their flat was razed by fire.

Isimeli Savutini, 42, said he could not believe what happened and described the day as a bad Christmas for his family. He said they had originally planned to spend Christmas with families.

Mr Savutini said he, his wife, two sons and a visitor were fortunate to escape unharmed from the blaze which destroyed the two flats and the belongings of the household in fewer than 20 minutes.

Mr Savutini said: “I was woken up by the smell of something strong burning at around 7am and I thought someone was burning rubbish.

“But by the time I got up to see if the heat was from the kitchen, I saw the other flat already on fire and the fire was spreading,”

After he and his family escaped the house, he said he told his sons not to go back inside because the fire was wild and rapid.

He said the man in the other flat sustained minor burns on his forehead and was taken to hospital.

Mr Savutini and his family had been renting the flat since 2003.

The family are now staying at the home of a neighbour.

“I am the only sole-bread winner of the family and some of the items that were destroyed were just bought three months ago and I was doing the payment.

“It hurts to think of the loss,” an emotional Mr Savutini said.

He said all his shopping for a good Christmas meal had also been burnt making it a devastating holiday season for them.

“The firefighters arrived around 10 to 15 minutes after we called and the fire was too fast to wait for them to arrive,” he said.

National Fire Authority media liaison officer, Ritesh Kumar, said the cause of fire was yet to be determined and investigations are continuing.

But the family is thankful to their neighbour for offering them a place to stay and supplying them with food.

“But I will never forget this Christmas; it will be one to always remember,” Mr Savutini  said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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