NEWS

Late-night Blaze Catches Students By Surprise

  Lebanese student Tarek Wael Wazni was catching up on his reading at the University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) Postgraduate Lab when he
24 Nov 2018 12:54
Late-night Blaze Catches Students By Surprise
Smoke billows from the Communications Building, which houses the Student Administrative Services (SAS), Pacific Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and the Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) on November 22, 2018. Photo: Sheenam Chandra

 

Lebanese student Tarek Wael Wazni was catching up on his reading at the University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) Postgraduate Lab when he heard a loud, crackling sound on Thursday night.

He ran out of the building only to find the Communications Building which houses the Student Administrative Services (SAS), Pacific Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and the Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) on fire.

“I found out about the fire by hearing loud breaking sounds outside the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) Postgraduate Lab. I was inside doing some reading,” the 24-year-old Postgraduate Diploma in Literature said.

“It didn’t take me any time at all to reach the building because when you exit the Postgraduate lab, the SAS building is just across the FALE block.”

Mr Wazni could not gauge the exact time the fire started, but the National Fire Authority (NFA) reached Student Academic Services Building fast and worked quickly to control the fire.

By the time firefighters were able to bring the flames under control, two levels of the three-storey building were completely destroyed.

The NFA released a statement saying that the Suva Fire Station received a fire emergency call from USP’s security officers and immediately responded.

“Upon arrival at 11.33pm, the fire team saw Levels 2 and 3 of the Student Administrative Services building fully engulfed in flames,” NFA said.

The NFA fire team used multiple deliveries of water from their fire trucks and fire hydrant supply to extinguish the fire, stopping it from spreading to the ground floor.

“Five fire trucks were engaged to put out the fire. Quick action by the firefighters stopped the fire from destroying the whole building and from spreading any further.”

NFA will conduct its investigations to determine the cause of the fire.

However, when a Fiji Sun team arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon firefighters were still trying to douse the flames.

USP has also released a statement confirming that no student or staff of the University was injured or harmed at the time of the fire.

“Alternative arrangements have been made for all staff affected,” the USP said.

“The National Fire Authority is currently at the site and the affected area is cordoned off and is strictly out of bounds to the public.”

The university is tightlipped on an estimate of damage.

Late yesterday afternoon the university released another statement advising staff who worked at the damaged building to report to other buildings within the Laucala Campus for work.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedbacksheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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