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NUMBER OF FIRES A CONCERN FOR THE MINISTRY

Minister for Local Government, Housing & Community Development, Hon. Premila Kumar is calling on all residents to prioritize their health as well as Home Fire Safety particularly during this period where Fiji is fighting hard to contain the Covid-19 virus.

It is rather alarming to see that despite people living in the comfort of their homes during this time, we are still receiving property fire calls. 

According to statistics recorded by the National Fire Authority (NFA), since January this year to date, a span of over four months, a total of 38 structural fire incidents were recorded, of which 9 occurred in the Central/Eastern Division, 12 in the Western Division and 7 in the Northern Division.  Most of the home fires have started from unattended cooking and when homes are left vacant.

The total cost of damage due to these fires has been estimated at $2.3 million, which is alarming for a period of 4 months only. Attending to these fire incidents has incurred a cost of over $250,000 to NFA.

The number of fires that have gone up during the lockdown period is a concern. Fires impact people, property, and the environment. In some cases, the losses are extraordinary, causing deaths, widespread damage to property and household contents. We cannot imagine the pain of losing everything to fire including the lives of our people,” Hon. Kumar stated.

 The Hon. Kumar said: “Following, the COVID-19 lockdown from April 19th, the NFA has recorded a total of six (6) home fires which has displaced a total of 24 people within a span of less than one month.  This is shocking and raises the bar for vigilant fire safety in our very own homes”.

 “These people who are affected have lost their homes, belongings, and years of hard work which is of great concern, especially during the current pandemic situation.  It is very sad to see that these fires have robbed them, the comfort and security of their homes,” she said.

The Hon Kumar said: “The biggest challenge for us all is to take heed of what is happening in our nation – both health-wise and also fire safety in our homes”. 

She said:  “A lot of us have become very complacent and think that it can never happen to others– but that type of thinking has to change and people are requested to take action and ensure that their homes are fire safe”.

In 2019, the total estimated value of property damages caused by fire was $22 million while in 2020 it was $13 million.  

“We do not want people to become homeless especially during this difficult time currently faced by Fijians due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Fijians have worked tirelessly day and night and sacrificed a lot to build homes for themselves and to see their lives savings turn to ashes within minutes, is agonizing,” Hon. Kumar stated.

“Just as all Fijians are being advised to take precautionary measures daily with regard to the Covid-19 virus, I am urging all Fijians to check and ensure that all fire safety measures are also observed in your home so that every Fijian is both Covid-safe and Fire-safe.  Identifying hazards that could start a fire in your home or ensuring that all precautionary measures are taken to prevent a fire from happening is the best action everyone can take.”

In the event of a fire, we request Fijians to quickly call the 910 Fire Emergency line and give our firefighters the quickest opportunity to attend to the fire incident. 

 -End-

Established by virtue of the National Fire Service Act, 1994 the National Fire Authority assumed responsibilities to provide fire services for the entire nation of Fiji in February 1995.

 

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