By PETER ESILA
A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy and his six-year-old sister were trapped in a house fire and burnt to death in Port Moresby’s Boroko on Friday afternoon.
Eight families were made home-less by the 2.30pm fire that gutted the National Broadcasting Corporation flats on Tanatana Street.
Unit 2 resident Wesley Mangula said it took just a minute for the fire to spread.
“It was a very old house, I live above it. I smelt a strong ‘iron smell’, all my possession is gone.
“The only thing I managed to save was my laptop, because when I turned on my laptop, people were shouting fire.
“I rushed out and saw smoke billowing. When I returned to my room, the unit was full of smoke,” .
Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo said on Saturday that the cause of the fire was being investigated.
“The Boroko Fire Station received a distress call at about 2.30pm and the Waigani station also responded. The fire started in a ground floor unit and spread quickly to unit 2 upstairs, trapping the two young siblings. Their mother is the key witness, but we have to respect her and her family who are in mourning,” Roo said.
“At an appropriate time, we will interview her as part of our investigations into the cause of the fire.”
Roo said firemen arrived with flames already licking the interiors in unit 2 where the siblings were trapped.
“We could not do anything to salvage the ground floor unit,” he said.
“Firemen and police forensics retrieved the charred remains of the siblings at about 6.30pm.
“The remains were sent to Port Moresby Hospital by St John Ambulance.”
NBC managing director Kora Nou said two units were gutted and the others were damaged by water used to fight the fire.
“It is very unfortunate and sad that two young lives were lost in the fire. Our condolences and prayers to the family of NBC officer Sonny Karubaba,” Nou said.
“NBC’s immediate concern and care is for the eight families affected and we provided K5,000 to all of them to keep them going for the weekend. We will assess the situation this week.”
He said NBC was liaising with Karubaba and his family on the funeral arrangements.
“NBC will meet all funeral expenses, including taking the remains of the two siblings to their final resting place later this week,” he said.
“We will ask the affected families to temporarily move in with other NBC staff or relatives in NCD.
“We have also started the process of building new accommodation for the affected staff on existing NBC land.
“We have sourced quotations for prefabricated houses and will start clearing land this week.
“We intend to relocate them as soon as possible.”
By PETER ESILA