by Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby
Fire fighters who responded to the Erima fire on Friday, said the water pressure was ineffective, making it difficult to save one of the two buildings that was destroyed.
Fire Superintendent for the Gerehu Fire Station, John Gareresi, explained that the fire was just too big for them to contain.
He also said investigations are continuing to establish the cause of the fire.
Superintendent Gareresi said although fire fighters were called to the scene after receiving a fire alert from their head office in Boroko, they ran out of water and were not able to save the next building, JY’s Clothing.
He said the two buildings were metres apart, and it was easy for fire to catch the second building within minutes. At least three fire trucks responded, but were unable to put out the fire. The Erima Fire destroyed two shopping centres, a kai bar (snack bar), and a clothing mart.
The kai bar, Peter Trading, is owned by a national, but leased to an Indian, while the clothing mart is operated by an Indian couple.
Kove Pereke, who was present when the fire started, said it took less than an hour for the fire to burn down both shops. Shop owners had refused to speak on camera but said most of their goods and recently purchased supplies were destroyed by the fire and they were unable to save any of their personal belongings.
They said the cost of damage could not be calculated at the moment but they estimated it is in the hundreds of thousands.
Superintendent Gareresi said investigations into the cause of the fire will be headed by the investigators from the Fire Department, and is yet to begin.
There were no injuries or casualties recorded.