Hearth victims declare they don’t have any water within the hydrant


Mr Chand, who was in shock when the Fijian sun visited him yesterday, claimed the firefighters could have put out the fire if the hydrants had been supplied with water.

Parveen Chand stands with his wife Ashika Chand and children Astha Chand and Palvish Chand in front of their house, which was destroyed by fire on October 12, 2020 in Nasasa, Navua. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Navua, a family of five on Nasasa Road, is collecting the remains of their two-bedroom corrugated iron house. The house was completely destroyed in an early morning fire yesterday.

Homeowner Parveen Chand, 43, said the incident occurred around 1 a.m. while his family were all sleeping.

He said the fire started in his wife’s bedroom. They were awakened by flames that went up their mosquito nets.

Mr Chand, who was in a state of shock when the Fijian sun visited him yesterday, claimed that the firefighters could have put out the fire if the hydrants had been supplied with water.

“We called the fire department at 1:20 am when the fire had just started and they were at the scene at 1:30 am,” said Chand.

“The problem was there was no water in the hydrant when they came,” he said.

“This created a bigger problem, the fire was spreading quickly and they couldn’t save anything because there was no water.”

He claimed they had to use the generator to pump water from their family’s well to stop the fire.

“By then everything was gone, it took them almost 30 minutes to pump the water from the well into their hoses so that they could stop the fire.

“If there was water we could have saved things from our house.”

He had asked the responsible authorities to prepare better for such scenarios in the future.

Mr Chand’s wife, Ashika Chand, said when the incident occurred she only thought of saving her three children first before attempting to save anything else.

“I later tried to store their school bags, clothes, and stationery, but I just couldn’t because the fire had spread throughout the house.

“Now my children cannot go to school because all their school supplies were destroyed in the fire.”

She has asked the public to help her family rebuild and regain what they lost in the fire.

“My husband is the only breadwinner in the family, he doesn’t have a decent job as he only sells vegetables on the roadside to earn an income for our family.

“We ask those who can help to contact me at 2047550.”

In a statement by the Fiji Water Authority on hydrants, the authority said: “Our teams in Navua and Deuba have not been notified of any fires in the area. Typically, NFA will notify the team if problems arise, after which the team is performing isolation work to provide focus supply for fire fighting purposes. “

Questions to the national fire brigade on the subject of hydrants remained unanswered at the time this issue went to press.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua

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