Neighbour’s timely warning saves family from Nabua fire
Graduating certificates go up in flames as fire spreads from temple to house to kindergarten
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.