5 Apr 2004

Huge fire causes widespread damage in Lautoka in Fiji

7:08 am on 5 April 2004

A massive fire in the heart of Fiji's Lautoka city at the weekend caused widespread damage estimated at many millions of dollars and left hundreds without jobs.

The fire started at a coffee shop and engulfed about a dozen adjacent premises, which included shops, a large furniture and appliance complex, jewellers and the Fiji National Provident Building.

Four fire engines trying to fight the blaze were severely hampered by extremely low water pressure in nearby fire hydrants, a problem that has plagued Lautoka for many years.

Lautoka's mayor and leading business people have expressed anger that the Public Works Department has done nothing to solve the city's water problems and has removed some hydrants.

They say had such a fire started during working hours it could have left many dead.