Fire demolishes Siumu school

By Vatapuia Maiava 09 January 2018, 12:00AM

Two weeks away from the start of the school year, students of Palalaua College at Siumu have been dealt a major blow.

A large part of their school building was completely demolished by a fire that broke out of the school building midmorning.

The Samoa Fire and Emergency Service Authorities (F.E.S.A.) is conducting an investigation to determine what caused it.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire broke out around 11 a.m.

The fire ripped through the old wooden school buildings leaving behind remnants of the tin roofing on top of a pile of ash where the buildings once stood.

Some parts of the school building remains standing with some showing signs of minor scorch marks inside.

Fire trucks were called to the scene where they quickly contained the fire before it could break out further and ignite the other nearby buildings.

For Palalaua College’s Principal, Leoloa Tuuu Mautofiga, who was saddened by the scene, she tried to remain optimistic.

“This is a very bad start to our 2018,” she said.

“I am trying to remain positive. At least we still have our new buildings and our hall still standing. The fire only took our old buildings."

“There’s not much we can do about this incident.”

Leoloa said after conversations with witnesses and F.E.S.A. representatives at the scene, one possible cause of the fire is electrical problems.

“We are not really sure what happened here,” Leoloa said.

“The authorities are currently doing their investigation, but we suspect that something may have happened with the wiring which caused the fire to break out."

“But as of now, we don’t know yet for sure.”

And with the school’s first term just two weeks away, Leoloa shared her feelings of sorrow with what occurred.

“The school staff and I are very sad with what happened,” Leoloa said.

“School was meant to start in two weeks, so we need to start planning where we are going to conduct our classes this term."

“I just got here not long ago so I don’t know the exact time the fire broke out, but according to people who were here, it started around 11 a.m."

“I just want to thank F.E.S.A. for their hard work in putting out the fire and keeping it from spreading to our other buildings.”

Witnesses at the scene confirmed that the fire occurred at 11am. One witness, Foliga Tiatia, told the Samoa Observer that they saw the smoke while working at home.

“Our house isn’t far from the school,” he said.

“I was just doing my usual chores and saw the smoke at around 11 a.m. I dropped what I was doing and rushed to see what was happening."

“The fire trucks arrived not long after I did and they quickly did their job. It was too bad the fire was very fast in spreading to the other buildings that were burnt down.”

It was not possible to get a comment from F.E.S.A. yesterday.

By Vatapuia Maiava 09 January 2018, 12:00AM

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