A fire has accidently destroyed completely a double storey family home at Teavamago on Funafuti. The tragedy happened last week at about 3.00pm in the afternoon. The owner of the home, Mrs Nese Aleni occupy the ground floor while the above floor was rented to Mrs Eni G. Tumua. When the accident happened, the father of Mr George Laupane, the husband of the tenant, was at home with his wife and two other grand-children.

While they were at home attending to some domestic works, the children who were also playing in the house told their grand-parent that they could smell smoke. The grand-parent did not heed the grand-children’s concern thinking that the smell must have come from other houses nearby. Then, a few minutes later, the grand-parent also smelled smoke and it got stronger and stronger and one of the grandson went and opened the door of one of the bedrooms and there was the blaze in the room. The fire immediately escaped out to the main living room and the other rooms and the grand-parents started to sound the alarm and tried to get their belongings down and out.

They could not get anything out as the fire has covered almost the entire house upstairs and they started to get down and out before the fire found its way down the ground floor. Even the family downstairs, Nese and her children were not able to save any of their personal belongings.

fire.jpgThe police officers and pedestrians looking at the burning house. Photos by Ms Minime Kitiseni and Sauiluma K. Tausi
Pulisimani mo tino sasaale onoono ki te fale ‘kaa

I had the opportunity to interview the owner of the house, Nese Aleni about the bank loan that she took to enable her build the house, she said that, her loan has been cleared, but she took another loan very recently of $10,000 to build an extension on the ground floor.

The parent of the tenant, Mr and Mrs Laupane Sulata just returned from Fiji on the last trip pf the Mv Nivaga III from Fiji, though saddened by the loss of their belongings, they were thankful to the Lord that nobody lost his or her life or injured in the accident.

Nese and her family were then resettled by the government at a government house while the family above moved to stay with her parent, Hon Kausea and Selepa Natano.

A few days later, government organized a thanksgiving service in respect of the family members’s survival from the tragic accident and also in respect of the Minister of Communication and Transport, Hon Monise Laafai, his wife Tutasi Laafai and the Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Transport, Mr Falasese Tupau. The trio has also survived another air tragic event, when the Air Fiji’s ATR 72 on a flight from Nadi to Nausori caught fire on that same day the fire accident happened on Funafuti,

The service was attended by government dignataries including the Head of State, Governor General, His Excellency Iakoba Taeia Italeli, The Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga, His Excelleny Mark Su, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Tuvalu, the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Maatia Toafa, cabinet Ministers and MPs who were present on the island and many other people.

The service was led by the Church Minister of the Fa’kai Fou Congregation, Rev Ionatana Panapa and the guest speakers included Hon Monise Laafai, Sulata Laupane, Nese Aleni and the Prime Minister, Hon Enele S. Sopoaga. After the service, all those who attended the service were invited to attend refreshment provided by the Fa’kai Fou Congregation.

thanksgiving.jpgFront row (L-R: His Excellency, Iakoba Taeia Italeli, Hon Maatia Toafa and Excellency Mark Su attending the thanksgiving service

Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi

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