as son hears cries from their burn­ing fam­ily home

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - CHARLES CHAM­BERS charles.cham­bers@fi­ Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

Upen Dutt stood help­less out­side his home yesterday as he heard cries from his mother, sis­ter and un­cles as their fam­ily home was en­gulfed in flames at Valele, Ba.

With tears in his eyes, Mr Dutt, could not un­der­stand how a won­der­ful night he shared with his mum and two un­cles from Raki­raki has ended trag­i­cally.

The haunt­ing cries of the four, which he could hear com­ing from the in­ferno, was one thing he says he would never for­get. Dead are Amele Nac­ula, 53, her daugh­ter Alka Ar­tika Dutt, 23, and Ms Nac­ula’s two cousins, known only as Sanaila and Ropate, both of whom were in their 50s. Ms Nac­ula, Mr Sanaila and Mr Ropate all hail from Bure­wai Vil­lage, Nako­ro­tubu, in Ra. Mr Dutt said his un­cles had just re­turned from Navua on Fri­day and de­cided to spend the night at their home be­fore re­turn­ing to Ra. “We drank kava till about 1am and af­ter that we had din­ner,” he said. “By the time we went to bed it must have been around 2am.” Mr Dutt said some­time around 5am the heavy smoke and heat from the fire woke him up. “When I tried to look around, I could not see any­thing and I started to make my way out­side,” he said. “When I reached out­side, I could hear my mother and sis­ter’s cries and also my un­cles’ screams and I tried to go back inside.” He said the flames and heat and cou­pled with the win­dows hav­ing bur­glar bars pre­vented him from en­ter­ing. Mr Dutt said the fire may have started from the kitchen area was but he said there was no stove there.

“I re­ally don’t know how it started,” he said. By the time the Na­tional Fire Author­ity came, the four were dead and the house was com­pletely burnt.

Mr Dutt’s sis­ter Ker­rie Dutt, a staff of Bank South Pa­cific in Lautoka, was in tears as she spoke of the close knit fam­ily they were. The chil­dren’s fa­ther was away in the United States and ran a truck busi­ness, G Dutt Trans­port, which Mr Dutt was man­ag­ing.

“I just can’t be­lieve what has hap­pened,” Ms Dutt said.

Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­tin­u­ing.

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

A Po­lice of­fi­cer guards the three bed­room house where four peo­ple in Ba died in a fire yesterday morn­ing.

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