NEWS

Mystery Surrounds Death Of Four Women Who Perished In A House Fire In Benau

Dead are friends - Nagama, 70, Dharmi 76, Zamidan Hussain, 73, and Subhadra Wati, 70.
01 May 2020 10:06
Mystery Surrounds Death Of Four Women Who Perished In A House Fire In Benau
Bal Krishna, the late Nagama’s son, in front of what is left of their home after the fire killed his mother and her friends at Benau, outside of Labasa Town on April 30, 2020. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Mystery surrounds the death of four women who perished in a house fire in Benau, outside Labasa Town early yesterday morning.

Dead are friends – Nagama, 70, Dharmi 76, Zamidan Hussain, 73, and Subhadra Wati, 70.

Residents in Benau have alleged arson because two homes were reported to have been set on fire last week. They alleged the fires followed the noise of an explosion from outside the homes.

Claims which the Police and the National Fire Authority are investigating.

The four women were at the residence of Bal Krishna, Nagama’s son.

Nagama had a habit of helping those who were less fortunate. Four months ago, she took in Zamidan, a widow.

Every time she travelled, she prepared a food parcel for a bus driver.

Nagama was 70.

Nagama was 70.

Her neighbour, Dharmi was often at her residence.

Dharmi was 76.

Dharmi was 76.

Mr Krishna is devastated. He is the lone survivor from the fire.

The 35-year-old market vendor said he heard an explosion from behind the house at around 1:30am.

“My mother, Nagama, was sleeping with friends in a room,” Mr Krishna said.

“I quickly got out of my room to help them. By that time their room was on fire and I quickly ran out to look for them thinking they were outside.”

He searched the exterior of the house, but could not find them.

“I ran back inside the house, but the heat was too strong. Neighbours alerted the National Fire Authority and Police who came quickly to assist,” he said.

Bal Krishna, the late Nagama’s son, in front of what is left of their home after the fire killed his mother and her friends at Benau, outside of Labasa Town on April 30, 2020

Bal Krishna, the late Nagama’s son, in front of what is left of their home after the fire killed his mother and her friends at Benau, outside of Labasa Town on April 30, 2020

Mr Krishna lamented the loss of his mother.

He said that his mother liked to sit around with her neighbours and friends and talk.

“Dharmi came from next door and Subhadra Wati came from Naduna,” he said.

Subhadra Wati was 70.

Subhadra Wati was 70.

Mr Krishna was not able to save anything from the fire.

He estimated the cost of damage at around $200,000 after recent renovations. Mr Krishna is seeking assistance from authorities as he said this was not the first time his family was attacked.

“Last year someone stoned our house and stole items from our family temple. Last week there were two-house fire, but luckily no one died. Please do something,” he said.

Dharmi’s son, Anand Singh, a Labasa Town Council employee was helpless.

“My mother was a good friend of Nagama and she used to sleep over at their place and come home the next day,” he said.

Like Mr Krishna, Mr Singh was concerned with illegal activities in the area.

“Now I think we need to stay awake through the night to save our lives,” Mr Singh said.

Fatima Bi, 63, was in tears at the scene of the fire yesterday morning.

She was hoping to see her aunt, Zamidan. “Her husband left her and she has no children. This is the month of Ramadan and we feel so sad,” she said.

Zamidan Hussain was 73.

Zamidan Hussain was 73.

Last week, an elderly woman managed to save her bed-ridden husband and two granddaughters from a house fire in the same area.

They claimed it was arson.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed the fire yesterday had claimed the lives of four women.

Investigations continue.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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