Some of the ships in port seen making their way out to sea as the fire intensified
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 04 APRIL 2016: The Samoa Disaster Advisory Committee (DAC) has acknowledged the quick response with offers to help from Samoa’s overseas partners, during the fire at the Apia wharf that could have had serious impacts on Samoa’s economy.
The fire started around 10.00am this morning. There was the sound of an explosion, then the sirens went off and fire tenders were rushing to the wharf. The DAC members quickly congregated at the Fire & Emergency Services Authority (FESA) office to monitor the situation, and at the same time, communicating with oversea partners who were offering assistance if needed.
“American Samoa’s Governor responded after Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, who is the Chairman of the Committee, asked to be contacted for the use of helicopters if needed,” said Suluimalo Amataga Penaia.
Diplomatic representatives for New Zealand, Australia and the United States were also on hand at the FESA office to witness and offer assistance.
“Experts from New Zealand will be here to investigate and assess the cause of the fire,” said Suluimalo.
Several United States research scientists in Apia for a special marine research also offered their assistance in any way possible to assist Samoa.
Suluimalo said a full report of the incident will be finalized once the investigation is completed.
Suluimalo said once the danger of the fire was realised, DAC issued an evacuation order for areas that pose a risk to any possible explosion, which included Matautu-tai, and part of Matafele, Vaisigano and Beach Road. The offices at the Government Building were also told to go home early.
Suluimalo said boats at the wharf were also cleared from the wharf, vehicles belonging to offices at the wharf were moved to safer nearby areas and the diesel supply pipelines that connect the tanks to certain areas were quickly blocked to stop the flow of diesel.
A young welder, reported to have worked at the tank is confirmed dead. His workmate was treatment has been discharged.
Suluimalo credits the skills and efforts by the fire department and the Faleolo Airport team who managed to put the fire out after a 5 hour long fight.
DAC will meet the media 0900am Tuesday for an update of the disaster.