Man Who Called Out To Mother Heard Only Of Mur­murs Be­fore Fire En­gulfed Her

The tragedy hap­pened hours af­ter the fam­ily had gone to bed following Di­wali cel­e­bra­tions

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - CHARLES CHAM­BERS LAUTOKA Edited by Ranoba Baoa charles.cham­bers@fi­jisun.com.fj

Si­mon Raj cried out to his 60-year-old mother who was in her smoke-filled bed­room but heard only two slight mur­murs and then there was silence.

Mr Raj, 30, will never for­get that mo­ment ever, hear­ing the last fee­ble voice of his mother and who’s also a grand­mother, Anil An­jili, and then watch­ing the fire en­gulf her and their four-bed­room home. Mo­ments ear­lier he had to smash the win­dow to his par­ents’ bed­room to al­low his fa­ther, Ra­men, es­cape the early morn­ing blaze at Vi­togo, in Lautoka.

His five-year-old son, De­viance Devnil Raj, had ear­lier been pushed out through the bed­room win­dow to al­low him to es­cape. The tragedy hap­pened hours af­ter the fam­ily had gone to bed following Di­wali cel­e­bra­tions. “We had gath­ered to­gether and ev­ery­one was happy, in­clud­ing mum.

“My dad is still in hospi­tal, suf­fer­ing from ex­ces­sive smoke he in­haled but he still does not know mum is dead,” a teary eyed Mr Raj said. “Af­ter we had taken mum’s body to the mor­tu­ary, I went up to the ward to see him and the first thing he asked was whether my mother was okay. “He asked whether we had saved her and was she al­right. I could not an­swer him.” Mr Raj said his mother was usu­ally up and about at 4am ev­ery morn­ing but be­cause of all the hype of Di­wali, she was prob­a­bly tired and slept in. “I was awo­ken by the smoke in­side my room and sens­ing there was a fire, I smashed the win­dow in my bed­room and pushed my son out. “I could not go out through the door and also went through the win­dow and started shout­ing for ev­ery­one to wake up as the house was on fire.” Mr Raj said he tried to go in through the front of the house but de­cided to go to his par­ents’ room from the out­side. There, he phys­i­cally pulled off the wire mesh for the win­dow and broke the glass. Mr Raj said his fa­ther man­aged to come out and he called out twice to his mother amidst all the smoke pour­ing out from the room. “All I heard was two small mur­murs and then she was silent.” The Na­tional Fire Au­thor­ity ar­rived at the scene as soon as they re­ceived the call, but there was noth­ing that could be done as the home was al­most com­pletely burnt. He later found the badly burnt body of his mother ly­ing near the win­dow, which made him as­sume that she was try­ing to es­cape but was over­come by the dense smoke in the room. Mr Raj’s brother, Ro­hit, who lives about 20 me­tres away said by the time they woke up, it was too late. “We were so happy last night (Sun­day) as a fam­ily, in­clud­ing my mother and how could we have known such a thing would hap­pen.” Po­lice spokesper­son, Ana Naisoro said the cause of fire and other in­for­ma­tion was still be­ing gath­ered by in­ves­ti­ga­tors from both the Fiji Po­lice Force and the Na­tional Fire Au­thor­ity.

Photo: Charles Cham­bers

Pic­tured out­side the burnt house are Si­mon Raj with his son, De­viance, and brother, Ro­hit.

De­ceased, Anil An­jili.

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