The fire that ripped through the Savalalo Market on Saturday did not just demolish a building. The blaze also ruined thousands of lives who depended on businesses being run in there.
The Samoa Observer caught up with a few of them yesterday.
For Pele Pio, of Togafu’afu’a, she was still in shock.
“I find it really hard to believe that it’s all gone now,” Pele said.
Pele owns a shop at the market. While she was able to salvage some of her stuff, her friends and other stall owners did not stand a chance.
“I know that they are going through a difficult time and I know how it feels like to lose everything you’ve worked hard for,” she said.
“I feel the pain that my other fellow stall owners are feeling right now. It was unexpected, one minute everything was alright and then boom! It all got burned down. That’s very sad.”
Pele said her shop is her family’s bread and butter.
“This is the only source of income for me and my family. I cannot imagine what would’ve happened if the fire took away all the things we have in the shop. And with school starting soon, I need to provide for my three children and I need money to send them to school and provide for their needs.”
Pele is also grateful that no one was injured.
But she said “this is the right time for the government to stand up and do something for the people who have suffered from the incident."
“This is their time to prove that they are concerned about the welfare of our people and that our government really is for the people.”
Iakopo Siaosi from Siumu believes that everything happens for a reason and that the incident happened for a reason.
Iakopo sells ie lavalava in front of the DBS building beside the market and he said he has made a lot of friends with stall tenants at the market.
“I know they are going through a lot right now because I spoke to some of them earlier,” he said. “The market was like home for most of them. Some even made their stalls their second home. Some of them even slept inside the market.”
“So I think that they did not only lose their stalls but also the relationship they had with their customers and other stall owners."
“My heart goes out to all the families that have been affected because of this incident and I hope the government or the business communities will help them out.”
Va’ele Ilalio from Afega said he couldn’t believe that the market was now gone.
“It all happened so fast. It’s like a nightmare for most people.”
Va'ele said his sister owned one of the stalls that was taken away by the fire. “I feel sorry for her because this was one of their main sources of income. And I know they’ve worked hard for that and the fact that it’s all gone is just heartbreaking.”
The market was one of the most visited areas by tourists coming to Samoa, said Va'ele.
“Now I think we should look forward and see what we can do from here."
“Right now, everyone is looking forward to see Parker fighting here in the country and it is unfortunate that something like this happened while everyone is all hyped up for the historical fight."
“However, I hope and pray that all the families affected from this incident will recover from this devastating and unexpected occurrence.”