​Fire service warns landlords

Landlords should ensure acceptable fire safety protection measures are in place.

This is the message from the PNG Fire Service, after a child tragically died in a fire at Badili on Sunday.

The Port Moresby residential building, which was once a shop, caught fire at around 2pm.

While the cause of the Badili fire is yet to be established, Acting Chief Fire Officer, Bill Roo, raised concerns about buildings that have had their class of occupancy changed to another without complying with proper processes prescribed in the Building Act (Regulations) chapter 301 or the PNG fire code.  

He said landlords that are already providing accommodation on commercial basis must ensure measures such as fire separation walls, fire doors, fire exits, fire alarms and fire extinguishing systems are in place.

“They should also ensure that their tenants are trained in basic fire escape procedures and first aid firefighting. Every rental budget accommodation should meet this obligation,” he stated.

“It is also ethical business practice. PNG Fire Service officers cannot enter private dwellings or residential property to conduct fire safety inspections as this is restricted under the Privacy legislation and the Fire Service Act.

“Fire officers can only enter private property if there is a formal complaint about the presence of a dangerous flammable substance of a reasonably large quantity, believed to be present at a property or if the landlord voluntarily invites them to conduct fire safety inspections.”

Roo said fire fighters depend on the good will of landlords to proactively practice fire safety by providing adequate fire safety measures or protection.

“In the meantime, we urge tenants residing in rental properties to encourage their landlords to improve fire safety, if such is not in place.”

PNG Fire Service is currently working with the Law Reform Commission on its 4th draft of the PNGFS legislation review, in which it hopes to see the enforcement of more stringent fire safety compliance measures.

Some of these measures will be aimed at improving fire safety standards in rental or budget accommodation.

Press release