2013 Structure Fires In Fiji Come At Significant Cost

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Fires result in nearly $16 million in damage from January to July

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 12, 2013) – Structural fires have caused a massive FJ$30 million [US$15.9 million] loss to Fiji this year.

The latest statistics from the National Fire Authority (NFA) take into account the fires it attended to from January to July this year.

National Fire Authority CEO John O'Connor said the big commercial fires contributed to this cost.

"So far we've responded to 65 structural fires this year, there have been a few big commercial fires like Shop N Save in Tavua, the RC Manubhai factory in Ba and MH in Nadi."

"There have also been a few small industrial fires like the shop that burned in Nadi and the law firm building that burned in Ba, the majority are property and.

"And so far the total loss as a result of the fires- from January to July is FJ$30 million- that's for this year alone and it excludes the QVS fire.

"In terms of the cost to NFA in terms of fighting these fires- we have spent FJ$150,000 [US$79,275].

"The total cost is the damage caused by the fires and possessions lost in the fire.

Mr. O'Connor said that in terms of revenue the NFA operated like a private organisation but it also received FJ$400,000 [US$211,400] from the government in the 2013 budget to assist with it's ambulance services.

He said the cost to the NFA was based upon a number of things including crew hours, fuel and vehicle maintenance.

Mr. O'Connor said that the 65 commercial fires included 56 property fires, six commercial fires and three schools.

He explained that the authority was utilising all it's resources to ensure that they were able to effectively fight fires.

"Currently the authority has 56 vehicles and of these there are 45 fire trucks," Mr. O'Connor said.

He said the authority was also very concerned with the high number of grass and bush fires.

"Apart from the structural fires, to date we have responded to 397 smaller fires including grass and bush fires.

He said these fires compromised compromises NFA's firefighting operation when there is a structural fire call.

"We are more concerned since all these bush and rubbish fires are intentionally started by some members of the community who do not think about the consequences of their actions which concerns the NFA and also affects its services in the event of a structural fire incident."

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