No fire service in Manus

After 42 years of independence, Manus still does not have a fire service in the province.

Ironically what would have been saved on Friday morning in the province's worst fire disaster could not be done, simply because of this outstanding issue.

Manus Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector, David Yapu confirmed that 10 Chinese people perished in the fire.

"The 10 that were burnt to death in the fire were six females and four males."

PPC Yapu said the fire started at about 3am on Friday (Sept 22) and spread quickly to other parts of the Splendid Star Supermarket, and to the bedroom where the 10 Chinese nationals were sleeping.

Looting was also reported by opportunist. At about lunch time, the fire was still burning what was left of the building.

"Although the police were at the scene , they were helpless and could not control the fire.

"This is the worst fire disaster in the Province, especially when 10 x Chinese people were trapped inside the building.

"We have no fire service to deal with such cases of fire. This is an outstanding issue that appropriate Government Agencies must address, "PPC Yapu said.

The identities of the 10 Chinese are being withheld until their families are notified.

Meantime PPC Yapu said he had arranged for police Forensic science officers to travel with the fire investigation team from Port Moresby to travel to Manus to investigate this case.

Yapu sends his condolence to the families of those 10 Chinese that were burnt to death by the fire and said it was an unfortunate and sad day to see such a fire tragedy.

From history, this is the second time a shop in this same area caught fire.


Picture: What now remains of Splendid Star Supermarket after the fire on Friday morning.

Sally Pokiton