National Fire Authority (NFA) is urging the public and property owners to take extra responsibility for fire safety in and around their homes after two fire incidents this week. 

NFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Puamau Sowane says it is almost becoming a norm now to see these fire incidents despite many reminders, which is very worrying.  

“People are still not taking fire safety seriously and it is our request to you all to adhere to fire safety in and around your homes to avoid loss of properties and valuables. “The safety of your children, households, and properties should be of high importance, “he said.  

A family was left homeless on Tuesday 29th September 2020 after a fire incident destroyed their six-bedroom house at Rarawai Totoko Road in Ba. 
The Ba Fire Station was alerted of the incident at 7.05 pm and the fire crew responded immediately.

Upon arrival at the scene, the fire crew saw a two-flat corrugated iron and timber house on fire. The crew quickly established one delivery of water from the fire truck to extinguish the fire.

The family was at home when the fire had started but managed to escape to safety before it destroyed their house. 

In another fire incident at Nobolo Settlement, Naqiri Road in Nausori, a family of three lost their house in a fire on the same night. 

The Nausori Fire Station was alerted of the incident at 8.15 pm and the fire crew responded immediately. 

Upon arrival at the scene, the crew found a corrugated iron and timber house on fire. The crew quickly established one delivery of water from the fire truck to extinguish the fire. It is believed the house was vacant at the time of the fire incident.  

This year NFA has attended to a total of 81 structural fire incidents from January to August compared to 84 incidents last year which is still very high. 

The Western Division recorded 48 structural fire incidents compared to 38 incidents the same period last year, Central Division recorded 24 incidents compared to 38 incidents for the same period last year whilst Northern Division decreased from 9 to 8 incidents for the same period. 

CEO Sowane says that the Western Division alone recorded 48 fire incidents despite many home to home awareness sessions, school visits, and public awareness. 

“From the statistics recorded, we can identify which community is seriously making fire safety a priority and making it their way of life. “Weather conditions in the Western Division are usually dry compared to the other two divisions and it is our plea to the people to be considerate while lighting or starting any fire. A small fire can lead to a disastrous fire incident. 
“Ignorance is a destructive attitude that can destroy your whole life in seconds,” he added. 

The highest cause of the fire incidents recorded from January to August was due to electrical related causes making it 39.5% of all fire cases recorded. Twenty-four incidents were related to arson or suspicious causes, eight incidents were due to children playing with matches, five incidents were due to unattended cooking and one was due to lit candle. 

These statistics should tell every individual on how we can improve to avoid fire in homes and buildings. Do not engage unlicensed electricians to work on your electrical wiring.  

CEO Sowane is sending a very strong message to the people to make fire safety their priority and for every individual to identify the dangers of fire in their properties. 

“Several fire incidents this year occurred when homes or properties were left vacant. “It is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure their safety is not threatened by the impact of fire dangers in their properties,” he said. 

“We should make Fire Safety a priority considering the global financial downturn due to the global pandemic of COVID 19.  
Whilst we encourage homeowners to regularly check the functionality of their electrical appliances and the continuous trip of circuit breakers at times, CEO Sowane strongly advises the unethical electricians to do the right thing and get their license.  

“Our community is vulnerable and normally prefers to hire the cheaper service to get their electrical works done but that is not the right thing to do. 

CEO Sowane further states that the NFA is working closely with a task group by Hon. Minister Premila Kumar to stop substandard electrical components at the borders.  

“Fire Safety is everyone’s responsibility; from the electrical hardware distributors to electricians and right down to homeowners. The most vulnerable are the low bracket community who cannot afford to insure their homes for the impact of fire,” he said.  
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of both fire incidents.

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