Tanuvasa cautions public as fires destroy homes

By Yolanda Lavata’i 01 November 2018, 12:00AM

The Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.), Tanuvasa Petono Mauga has cautioned the public on the use of burning mosquito coils inside their homes. 

His stern warning follows two fires, which are suspected to have started from burning mosquito coils, destroying two separate homes yesterday.  

The first fire happened around 7.00 AM at Alafua, where a two-storey house was destroyed and the second was a Samoan fale at Puipaa, which housed a family of eight.     

“Twice in one day a fire was reported to the Samoa Fire and Emergency Services,” Tanuvasa said. 

“When we had arrived (Alafua), the fire was already at a severe stage. However, further investigations have been done and concluded that the fire did not start from electrical outlets since the room that started the fire had no outlets, but it has been suspected that it might have been a burning mosquito coil.”

 Tanuvasa said based on the initial investigation, the fire resulted from the family’s own negligence. 

“This was early on in the morning, so it seems like it might have been a mosquito coil based on what we discussed with the person who lives in the house.

“Despite the family calling us quickly, there was no knowing for sure how long the fire had started and the materials of the house only made matters worse. 

“By looking at the house, you can see that it is old. The house material was incapable of lasting for long, so the fire was quick to spread that by the time we got there, it was too late.” 

He said the F.E.S.A. team was able to contain the fire saving the workshop and fortunately no lives were lost. 

On the second incident, a mother of six from Puipaa was loss for words after losing their home to a fire yesterday morning.

Pulemau Faivaa said she went out fishing because it was their main source of income and only four of her six children were home when the fire occurred. 

Her mother-in-law, Moevao Ulu, who lives next door to the family, told Samoa Observer that the fire began late yesterday morning when Pulemau had gone out fishing.

“It was just the kids at the house when their mother had left and what had caused the fire was a burning mosquito coil left on the bed,” Moevao said.

By the time the team from F.E.S.A. had arrived to the scene, the house was completely up in flames and nothing could be saved, Moevao added.   

Pulemau could not contain her tears as she spoke to the Samoa Observer about returning to their home and belongings completely destroyed. 

She said no one in her family works, including her husband who was in American Samoa, and she has four children who attend school. 

In the meantime, she said they have moved to her in-laws home until her husband returns, and she is grateful that none of her children were injured or died in the incident. 

Tanuvasa is encouraging the public to have a fire extinguisher readily available in their homes and to always be cautious of anything that could start a fire and to keep them out of children’s reach. 

“As we have already announced on different medias, the public should have a fire extinguisher especially businesses. In any incident of a fire, a fire extinguisher is the first thing you reach out for and it saves your home and business,” the C.E.O. said. 

“It’s true that a fire extinguisher is expensive, costing about a couple hundred, but it saves your building, which costs about hundred thousand tala.”

Tanuvasa said a lot of fire reports have been due to carelessness with things like mosquito coils and forgetting to switch off electric outlets. 

F.E.S.A. is working with the Samoa Water Authority and Electrical Power Corporation to raise awareness on issues concerning fire, with the hopes that the public learn from the previous incidents and prevent further fires from occurring. 

By Yolanda Lavata’i 01 November 2018, 12:00AM

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