NATION

Employees Dash For Safety As Smoking TV Triggers Alarm

More than 100 staff of the Ministry of Economy were forced to leave their work stations on Level Nine of the Ro Lalabalavu House yesterday. An electrical fault and smoke
25 Jan 2019 10:00
Employees Dash For Safety As Smoking TV Triggers Alarm
Government employees and the public outside Ro Lalabalavu House on January 24, 2019, in downtown Suva. Photo: Ashna Kumar

More than 100 staff of the Ministry of Economy were forced to leave their work stations on Level Nine of the Ro Lalabalavu House yesterday.

An electrical fault and smoke triggered a fire alarm in the high-rise building in downtown Suva.

National Fire Authority chief executive officer Manasa Lesuma said the officers attended to a fire emergency call from Ro Lalabalavu House in Suva at around 11am.

“On arrival, the NFA officers found a wall-mounted television unit on fire in a meeting room at level nine,” he said.

“The crew used hose reels with assistance of sprinklers which were activated to put out the fire and confining it to the area of the source of the incident.

“The fire triggered the fire sprinkler system that was installed in that room, which quickly snuffed out the fire before it could cause any further damage.”

He was glad that the building’s fire protection system was effectively activated during the incident and prevented what could have been a major catastrophe.

No one was hurt and the ministry suffered no damage.

Permanent Secretary for Economy Makereta Konrote said the ministry was fully operational and no business was affected because of the fire.

She said the ministry had designated Occupational Health and Safety trained officers and fire wardens at each floor to oversee and manage staff during the fire evacuation process.

“As soon as the alarm came on, the staff evacuated the building and with the help of fire wardens, they were assembled in the designated assembly area.

“The fire wardens worked together with NFA and Police personnel to control and eliminate the fire at Level Nine.

“The NFA, together with the ministry, conducts fire drill exercises at the ministry twice a year to ensure that staff are trained to respond to such situation and are aware of the safety rules during any evacuation process,” Ms Konrote said.

Mr Lesuma said the incident was a good example of how an effective fire protection system could help prevent fire incidents.

A bystander who wished to remain anonymous said he saw smoke coming out from the top floor of the building and contacted the NFA.

Within minutes, he said he saw people in the building rushing out the door and the fire trucks arrived within minutes to assist and contain the fire.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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