as son hears cries from their burning family home
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.
A Police officer guards the three bedroom house where four people in Ba died in a fire yesterday morning.