NEWS

Workers Flee For Their Lives In Morning Walu Bay Fire

It took 40 firefighters and four trucks to control the fire and stop it spreading to surrounding buildings in the industrial area.
23 Jul 2019 11:33
Workers Flee For Their Lives In Morning Walu Bay Fire
Firefighters extinguishing the fire at P.A. Lal Holdings LTD building in Walu Bay Suva on July 22,2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Staff of P.A.Lal Holdings Limited fled to save their lives as fire quickly spread through their building in Sonoma Street, Walu Bay yesterday morning.

Close to 100 workers from P.A.Lal Holdings and Fiji Bandag watched as their workplace went down in flames. Most of them had not been able to get their belongings out.

According to staff who had run out, the fire started just around 8am.

They said the fire had started in the P.A.Lal Coachwork workshop where buses are fitted with their bodies and seats.

From their accounts, it was alleged that thinner had spilt on the floor and sparks from a nearby welding work ignited the fire.

They said they tried using the fire extinguisher but the fire spread too rapidly.

The only thing they could do was run out of the building as the thinner drum exploded causing the flames to spread to the buses which still had fuel in them.

The workshop also contained welding gases.

Some workers managed to escape through the doors, others had to jump over the fence at the back of the building.

Purchasing officer Roderick Kumar said he heard a large explosion and had to rush out of the office.

He said as a fire warden, the first thing he did was account for all the people that were at work.

P.A.Lal Holdings Ltd’s director Richard Lal opted not to comment.

Workers from P.A. Lal Holdings LTD sit beside the roadside after their workplace in Walu Bay caught fire on July 22,2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Workers from P.A. Lal Holdings LTD sit beside the roadside after their workplace in Walu Bay caught fire on July 22,2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

A brave effort

It took 40 firefighters and four trucks to control the fire and stop it spreading to surrounding buildings in the industrial area.

Firefighters ran into the inferno, the building still ablaze, to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to the adjacent buildings

Chief Fire Officer Qionilau Moceitai said it was not easy, but firefighters put up a brave effort to ensure that everyone was safe.

“We received a call on the emergency line at 0804, four of our trucks were sent to the scene, three from Suva and one from Valelevu.

There were about 20 firefighters on the ground as first response, they were boosted again with some off-duty personnel joining in, altogether 40 firefighters,” he said.

“Our boys went in with their breathing apparatus and all in order to do firefighting inside the building.

“This is not an easy job, when people are running away from the fire, we are running into it trying to extinguish the fire.

“They have managed to do that, our firefighters with the use of water managed to seal themselves and prevented the fire from spreading further to the right side of the building. They managed to protect the main office and the accounts section.”
Investigation

The National Fire Authority and the Fiji Police Force will conduct their investigations to determine the cause of the fire.

According to NFA, they are also yet to determine if any lives were lost.

Mr Moceitai said they would start their investigations once the building had been secured and all the risks had been eliminated.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper