NEWS

Inferno: Bleak Diwali For Seven Families In Nabua Fire

Suresh Prasad had bought all the items for his daughter’s wedding planned for January. But the clothes and other items went up in smoke yesterday when his home was among
19 Oct 2017 11:21
Inferno: Bleak Diwali For Seven Families In Nabua Fire
Fireman trying to put out a fire that destroyed seven flats in Nabua Fiji Muslim League squatter settlement on October 18, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Suresh Prasad had bought all the items for his daughter’s wedding planned for January.

But the clothes and other items went up in smoke yesterday when his home was among seven homes destroyed by a fire.

More than 25 people were left homeless by the blaze at the Fiji Muslim League Estate informal settlement in Nabua.

Mr Prasad said: “We had bought all the clothes and paid for everything for the wedding,” he said.

He said he was unsure if he could afford to marry off his 21-year-old daughter after the destruction of everything he owned.

“Now, we have nothing left,” he said.

Another resident, Anil Kamal, a self-employed electrician, said it was a grim Diwali today.

He was at work when he received the news that his house was on fire. His wife was at work, too, while his only daughter, a Year One student, was at school.

“I rushed home,” he said. “I had done my Diwali shopping for close to $250 for my family and was excited for tomorrow.”

Mr Kamal’s family on average earns about $500 a week.

Smoke could be seen billowing above the squatter settlement as firefighters battled to put out the blaze, observed closely by anxious on-lookers.

On its way to destroying seven structures, the flames also partly destroyed a 40-year-old tree nearby.

Witnesses said the fire started after a young, unsupervised toddler ignited a piece of furniture in the first house from where the fire spread.

But Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said Police and the National Fire Authority were investigating the cause of the blaze.

Residents, acting as first responders, rushed with buckets of water to aid the NFA firefighters.

Coils of make-shift water pipes winding through the settlement were broken by the residents and used to contain the fire; but to very little effect.

One of the first responders, Apenisa Waqairatu, 27, said the shouts of people sprung him into action and he joined the group trying to salvage items from the fire.

He said: “I was at home and I heard people shouting and I came running along and saw that the house at the bottom was burning.

“Families were crying and trying to take their belongings but couldn’t take them all. We tried to help them but we couldn’t do much.

“It would be very hard time for them especially with Diwali coming and it’s very unfortunate that this had to happen.”

A firefighter seen emerging from the smoke just shook his head in dismay when asked if the fire could have been contained.

In June last year, houses just metres away from the houses that burned down yesterday were also destroyed by a fire in a similar manner.

Reacting to the fire, a visibly angry resident said this was the result of too many houses clamped together in squatter settlements.

He said when one house caught fire, everyone had to suffer.  Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: