NEWS

Twelve Firefighters Suspended, Internal Inquiry This Week

An internal inquiry will determine if the firefighters allegedly arrived at the MH fire scene in Walu Bay, Suva, drunk or if they had consumed alcohol after the fire was
25 May 2018 10:00
Twelve Firefighters Suspended, Internal Inquiry This Week

An internal inquiry will determine if the firefighters allegedly arrived at the MH fire scene in Walu Bay, Suva, drunk or if they had consumed alcohol after the fire was put out, says authority chair O’Connor.

The National Fire Authority (NFA) has suspended 12 fire­fighters, pending an inquiry, a Government Minister has con­firmed to Fiji Sun.

The Minister for Local Govern­ment, Housing and Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Parveen Bala, confirmed that an inquiry was underway, but referred all questions to the NFA.

It is alleged that the suspended fire fighters were drunk on the day the MH Warehouse at Walu Bay, Suva, was on fire.

The authority’s chairman, John O’Connor, said an internal discipli­nary process, which included an in­vestigation, was being carried out to determine the facts of the case.

He said all the firefighters would get a chance to present their case in front of a committee this week.

The inquiry, Mr O’Connor said, would try to determine if the fire­fighters allegedly arrived at the MH Warehouse fire scene in Walu Bay, Suva, drunk or if they consumed alcohol after the fire was put out.

“This is an internal matter for NFA. It’s an internal disciplinary process and anything that goes out could compromise (the cases of the) the accused,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We just want to be fair on them and allow them to present their cas­es during the hearing. I think the hearing is happening this week.”

The fire last month destroyed the Carpenters Administration Build­ing and a MH Warehouse in Walu Bay.

A female worker was hospitalised after suffering burns as a result of being trapped during the blaze.

“The facts still remain unclear,” Mr O’Connor said.

“It is an accusation at the moment and I’d rather leave it as an internal matter and give the boys a fair op­portunity to present their case and facts.”

He said he would release a state­ment once the outcome of the hear­ing, which will be closed to the me­dia, was decided.

“If it starts going in the media then the boys will feel bad. Some of them might feel guilty and so forth,” Mr O’Connor said.

Edited by Percy Kean

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