19 Dec 2005

Fiji fire fighting services under attack after blaze in Suva CBD

2:08 pm on 19 December 2005

The head of the Suva Retailers' Association in Fiji says some members are considering legal action against authorities after a fire devastated a section of the Central Business District.

A major blaze destroyed the Morris Hedstrom supermarket and damaged adjacent buildings at the weekend.

Himmat Lodhia says fire fighters took more than half-an-hour to arrive at the site and they were handicapped by faulty fire hydrants and low water pressure.

Mr Lodhia, says the National Fire Authority demonstrated a lack of relevant experience at the weekend.

"They can only perform in mock fires cases. This fire showed the fallacies of this supposedly efficient fire authority. Fire which could have been controlled without much damage went out of hand just because of the inefficiencies of the authority firemen. We believe that even the administration is suspect as there appeared to be no urgency when they received the alarm from all the panic victims."

Mr Lodhia says an inquiry should be launched into the NFA's operations

However the Authority says they arrived at the fire within ten minutes of receiving a call.