Root of Hanuabada fire unknown


A fire service investigation into a recent Hanuabada blaze in Port Moresby that charred 18 houses and left 200 homeless was inconclusive as far as the cause was concerned.
The investigation ruled out electrical fault and arson but said all evidence was destroyed by the intense fire.
It said the most probable cause of the fire was an unattended ignition – someone had started or sparked a fire and left it unattended – which the investigation report put to carelessness or accidental.
Acting Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo, accompanied by deputies Patrick Russell and Lua Roa, Inspector Clement Waven and Superintendent Gabriel Paulvs, presented the report in Port Moresby yesterday.
Roo said fire officers tried their best over the past few weeks to establish the cause of the fire.
“It took us some time but finally we have reached a probable conclusion on how the fire started,” Roo said.
He said they had identified where the fire  actually started based on witness statements but could not conclusively say what started the fire because: “Evidence was completely
destroyed by the intensity of the burning.
“Nevertheless, we can confidently rule out electricity and arson as the source of ignition because there were no power points in the room where the fire started.
“The owners of the house where the fire started were also in the building when it started, so it’s not electricity and arson.
“We have now formed an opinion and concluded that the fire may have been started through carelessness or accidental.
“Someone may have left an ignition source unattended.”
Russell said it was “a very unfortunate situation” because the buildings were connected but  did not have fire buffers.
“Fire safety is basically the responsibility of everyone and having spacing between houses as fire-buffers is very important,” he said.
“We cannot regulate the spacing of building in terms of fire safety but we only make recommendations and it is important for the villagers to take heed of our recommendations.”
Donor agencies, business communities, government agencies, churches, non-governmental organisations and individuals are making donations in cash and kind to help those affected to start a new home.

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