NEWS

Firefighters Contain Disaster

What could have been a more disastrous situation was contained by firefighters after their quick response in Suva yesterday morning. The National Fire Authority (NFA) men averted the major fire
10 Dec 2017 12:42
Firefighters Contain Disaster
Firefighters trying to contain the fire that burned the J. Santa Ram Supermarket bulk store and Lotus Garment building at Robertson Road in Suva on December 9, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

What could have been a more disastrous situation was contained by firefighters after their quick response in Suva yesterday morning.

The National Fire Authority (NFA) men averted the major fire in the J Santa Ram Supermarket bulk store at Robertson Road spreading.

At 7.28am, Suva Fire Station received a fire emergency call and immediately responded, the National Fire Authority said.

Upon arrival at 7.32am, the team saw that the bulk store was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters’ quickly used fire hydrants and further used foams to extinguish the fire.

The heavy fire loading was intense and it had spread through the roof of the bulk store into the adjacent Lotus Garment’s three-storey building.

The fire had spread into the upper two levels of the building which was occupied by some offices and the National Uniforms garment factory.   

On site were the J Santa Ram workers who were starting their 8am shift together with the owners of J Santa Ram including daughter, Reshma.

It is understood that an owner was taken to the hospital for reasons yet to be clarified.

His daughter said they would be able to comment once they knew more about what had happened.

It is also understood that 53 supermarket employees are now facing uncertainty while more than 90 workers of Lotus Garments Factory could be affected.

But had the firefighters not been quick, the situation could have looked worse for the city.

Part of the area came to a standstill as traffic and people crowded around.

Good effort by the firefighters stopped the fire from spreading into the J Santa Ram Supermarket on the ground floor, the adjacent Tebara Building and the Bargain Box outlet and John Hunt Buildings located at the rear of the Lotus Garments building.

The authority said were able to contain the fire within the National  Uniforms factory and the J Santa Ram Bulk Store.

The high content of flammable material like bales of cloth, clothing, consumables, made the work of the firefighters very difficult and lengthened the time taken to extinguish the fire, the authority said.

Six fire trucks and 45 firefighters were engaged.

As a result of the fire, both Robertson Road and Nina Street Road had to be closed off to traffic and pedestrians for the safety of the public and to allow the firefighters to carry out their work effectively.

Chief fire officer Qionilau Moceitai said it was very important for businesses to be mindful of fire safety at all times.

“A little spark can trigger a large fire and therefore it is very important for business owners to check their business and ensure that all fire ignition sources are put out properly, electrical equipment, etc are switched off properly and most importantly businesses should follow good housekeeping practices to avoid a fire from happening.”

Mr Moceitai also commended the Fire teams for their brave effort in putting out fire under intense conditions and stopped it from spreading to the neighbouring businesses and avoiding a major calamity.

Fire investigations are continuing.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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