Four fires in one day: possible links probed
The Fire Emergency Services Authority is not eliminating the possibility “foul play” from its investigation into the cause of four fires that broke out separately in a 24 hour period on Thursday.
“We are investigating whether there is a link to all the incidents in the last 24 hours,” said Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services (F.E.S.A.), Lelevaga Faafouina Mupo in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
“We are looking at all aspects of each respective case and I cannot tell you any details because the matter is being investigated as to whether there was foul play or not.”
The fires included an early Thursday morning blaze which completely razed a factory of an exporter of locally-produced coconut oil, Pacific Oil and a fire at the Office of the Regulator that resulted in the building being burnt to the ground.
Meanwhile, the Transwork Compound in Falelauniu suffered minor damage when its electrical meter began to emit a shower of sparks and was burnt and a shack in Lalovaea also caught on fire, said the Commissioner.
“The Falelauniu compound was actually lucky they contacted the Faleata Fire Station early enough for the team to respond and fix the problem,” the Commissioner said.
Lelevaga said inquiries were being led by F.E.S.A.’s fire safety division, led by Assistant Commissioner Aufa'i Petaia Tausani.
Aufa'i and the team are all certified investigators and have recently returned from Australiawhere they received training on determining the cause and origin of fires.
“We will await their report; they were stationed at the Office of the Regulator until late Thursday night and the report should be ready this weekend,” Lelevaga said.
The Commissioner also expressed concern over members of the public's first reaction to incidents.
“The initial reaction is to record a video or go on live; instead of calling 911 for help,” said Lelevaga.
That concern was echoed by F.E.S.A's Assistant Commissioner Tanuvasa Petone Mauga, who urged members of the public to call 911 first.
“It is your moral duty to call for help; but we have seen incidents where people actually go on live before they call for help,” Tanuvasa said.
“We have to change our mindset.”
Lelevaga said the F.E.S.A. is well equipped to respond to and fight any fires:
“We have more than 60 firefighters on standby and for days like yesterday (Thursday) where there were four fire incidents; the F.E.S.A. was ready and well equipped.”