Neigh­bour’s timely warn­ing saves fam­ily from Nabua fire

Grad­u­at­ing cer­tifi­cates go up in flames as fire spreads from tem­ple to house to kindergarten

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Pun­dit Dhrup Ram and his fam­ily say a timely warn­ing from a neigh­bour saved them from a fire early yes­ter­day. He said: “It was around 1:30 am when some­one tried to break into our ve­hi­cle and the alarm went up. “My fam­ily woke up, but at that time we were not aware the tem­ple was on fire. “My son and daugh­ter-in-law thought that there were rob­bers out­side and if they would open the door, they would at­tack us and they were scared to open the door.” Pun­dit Ram said luck­ily their neigh­bour called him up and in­formed him about the smoke com­ing out of the tem­ple. “Af­ter that my fam­ily rushed out and we also tried to put out the fire us­ing the fire ex­tin­guisher. But within min­utes the whole build­ing was on fire. “We are lucky to be alive. I thought we were go­ing to die,” he said.

Pun­dit Ram, his wife, son, daugh­ter-in-law, and two grand­daugh­ters now have to look for a new home. Their house at Luke St, Nabua, Suva, was joined to the Lakshmi Narayan Tem­ple and Lakshmi Narayan Kindergarten. They were all de­stroyed. 100 kindergarten stu­dents are sup­posed to grad­u­ate next week, but their cer­tifi­cates and kindergarten were also de­stroyed. “Ev­ery Tues­day night we had Ra­mayana in the tem­ple and by 10 pm ev­ery­one went to their home and we even checked the diya. It was not lit,” Pun­dit Ram said. Pun­dit Ram said their fam­ily closed the tem­ple and went to bed around 11pm. “If we were not warned about the fire, we would have all died be­cause it hap­pened so quickly. “We could not even save most of our be­long­ings,” he said. Pun­dit Ram claimed that the per­son who tried to break into their car must have de­lib­er­ately set their tem­ple on fire. Neigh­bour Fame Shah said: “I was asleep when I heard the ve­hi­cle alarm. “I then came to my liv­ing room and I saw the light in front of the tem­ple but no one was there. “I saw some­one run­ning away,” he said. Mr Shah said he then opened the door of his house and saw smoke com­ing from the tem­ple. “I be­came sus­pi­cious and called Pun­dit Ram and told him about the fire,” he said. Mr Shah said the fam­ily then rushed out. Lakshmi Naryan Kindergarten com­mit­tee mem­ber Vinita Sharma said: “There are about 100 stu­dents at­tend­ing the kindergarten. “The chil­dren were re­ally happy and they were pre­par­ing for their An­nual Prize Giv­ing day func­tion for next week on Fri­day.

“The stu­dents’ grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates and all the school property are gone,” she said. Po­lice spokesper­son Ana Naisoro said: “We can­not con­firm if some­one has de­lib­er­ately set the tem­ple on fire. “We are wait­ing for the re­port from NFA and only then we can de­ter­mine the cause of the fire,” she said. The tem­ple was run by the Sanatan Dharam Stri Sabha. Edited by Paula Tu­vuki

From left: Pun­dit Dhrup Ram, Shashi Ram (wife), Avan­tika Sharma (grand­daugh­ter), Anup Sharma (son) Aditi Sharma (grand­daugh­ter) and Vinita Sharma (daugh­ter-in-law).

Pun­dit Dhrup Ram be­side his car that was al­legedly bro­ken into be­fore the fire.

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