The Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority is continuing to investigate the cause of a fire that engulfed the Samoa Independence Seven Day Adventist Church (SISDAC) at Saleufi yesterday morning.
The collapsed walls and bent steel girders are all that remain of the substantial building, testament to the intensity of the fire.
Close to thirty fire fighters responded to the alarm after a member of the church from Vaivase-uta rang the Authority.
Assistant Fire Commissioner, Fa’afouina Mupo said the call came in around 5:30am.
“It is understood that the Head of the SISDAC mission in Samoa was in the building when the fire first erupted from inside.
“The Pastor was unable to give a full account of how the incident occurred because he told us that he was not ‘good’ to comment at the time,” he said.
The first vehicle to arrive at the scene of the fire had to drive through the back of the building between Chan Mow Wholesale and the Sunrise Restaurant.
Mr Mupo said it was fortunate that fire fighters managed to contain the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.
“To the right of the burnt building is the Sanalele complex and that’s not more than two metres away from the building,” he said.
“Next door on the left is the ACE Hardware timber warehouse which luckily didn’t catch fire because if it did, there would have been more damage.”
Mr Mupo said when members of the Authority arrived, the fire had already totally engulfed the building.
“The next best possible thing we could do was to secure the other buildings in the area before the fire spread their way.”
In relation to the numerous water trucks and fire trucks seen around Apia at the time of the incident, “we were not out of water but searching for fireplugs or hydrants because there weren’t any on the rear side of the building.”
“I just want to point out that these hydrants do not belong to the Authority, but to the Samoa Water Authority,” he said.
He said the building contained fire extinguishers.
Mr Mupo said it is important that owners of buildings of this size always comply with requirements or terms of fire fighting installations.
An attempt to get a comment from the Head of the SISDAC Mission in Samoa, Pastor Tupou Tufuga Lauifata Teo who was believed to be inside the building when the fire started, was unsuccessful.
A member of the church who was there at the time said it was best to leave any comments relating to the incident to Pastor Tupou.
She did not give her name but she said “he is not feeling up to it right now.”