Residents praise fire's speedy containment

A fire at the Tafaigata landfill was contained by Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) workers on Saturday morning, saving residents from an enveloping cloud of smoke. 

Residents in Tafaigata say they have been living in fear of the possibility of an outbreak of smoke or fire for years saying it’s  the possibility of it affecting their health is high. 

But locals praised their immediate response to blaze on Saturday; immediate action which prevented smoke from reaching their homes. 

“Of course we’re always affected by the smoke especially our children as they’re inhaling gas from burnt toxic waste and stuff like that but we’re grateful this time for the fire was gone by the time we learned there was a fire,” she said.

“When we woke up on Saturday morning, the fire had already been watered off leaving just a small smoke which didn’t reach our homes.”

This resident, who has children and relatives working at the landfill, said F.E.S.A and Police Officers attended to the flames soon after they started. 

A guard at the facility who said he was not authorised to be quoted in the media said the fire had only been burning for a short period before emergency services arrived.

“Even I didn’t know much about the fire; I only knew when the police and F.E.S.A got here,” he said.

During a massive fire at the landfill in 2018, the residents became vocal in their opposition to potentially toxic fumes. 

Ielua Ielua of Malie-uta told the Samoa Observer that 2018 was not the first time they had been the victims of air pollution. 

Their home was dangerously smoggy at the time while children and his other relatives were doing laundry with thick smoke around them, he told the Samoa Observer at the time. 

By that time, the father-of-three decried the lack of response from the authorities.

Attempts to get a comment from the authorities and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) who handles the landfill were unsuccessful.

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