Mother’s Day Plans Ruined

The Na­tional Fire Author­ity is in­ves­ti­gat­ing and has not de­ter­mined the cause of the fire

Fiji Sun - - Nation - ASHNA KU­MAR Edited by Naisa Koroi Feed­back: ashna.ku­mar@fi­

Ahouse fire ruined Mother’s Day plans for a fam­ily of seven in Navo­sai, Nas­inu yes­ter­day morn­ing. The four-bed­room, dou­ble-storey con­crete house be­longs to Marika Mata­balei, 62, a re­tired school teacher. A weep­ing Mrs Mata­balei said they were at her sis­ter’s house for a Mother’s Day break­fast feast, and were to have lunch and din­ner at her house and some sur­prise Mother’s Day plans from her chil­dren. “My heart fell when my niece, Kalo­laini, told me that she saw flames com­ing out of my house and we ran down to save my son, Toni, who was asleep when we left,” she said. The fam­ily be­lieves the fire may have started from the kitchen be­cause they were cook­ing a pot of yams us­ing fire­wood. How­ever, the Na­tional Fire Author­ity is still in­ves­ti­gat­ing and has not de­ter­mined the cause of the fire. The 25-year-old and his cousin Kar­alai Marama, 14, were asleep at the time of the in­ci­dent. No one was in­jured or killed from the fire. Mr Mata­balei said the strong smell of burn­ing wood woke him up. “When I got up, I looked out­side from my room and saw the huge fire in the kitchen. I knew I would not be able to man­age the fire so I ran over to my cousin who was sleepy in the sec­ond room and took her out of the house,” Toni said.

Ms Mata­balei’s niece, Kalo­laini Vakatalei, 17, saw the fire from the neigh­bour’s house and also ran to her par­ents to alert them. “When I saw the flames com­ing out of the house from the back where the kitchen is, I was shocked and quickly ran down to in­form my fam­ily and we went to save my cousin who was still sleep­ing in­side the house,” Kalo­laini said. Ms Mata­balei and her fam­ily are now shel­ter­ing at her sis­ter’s house in Narere.

Photo: Litia Cava

What’s left of the Mata­balei fam­ily house in Navo­sai, Nas­inu.

Photo: Ashna Ku­mar

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