An elderly man in his late 80s has died in a fire that destroyed a family home at Vaisaulu Lalomalava Savaii, in the early hours of Wednesday 6th January 2021.
The family of Taualii Letufuga is trying to come to terms with the tragedy that has unexpectedly taken a much loved and adored family patriarch; husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
Still in shock, a family member told Samoa Global News that they are very angry and upset with Samoa Observer newspaper reporting that Police Minister Tialavea Tionisio Hunt confirmed police are treating the incident as a homicide.
“We are so heartbroken, and this news that has been put on Facebook has made it even worse for us…
“They should not put up news if they don’t know the full story..
“E tauvalea atu ai le matou aiga i nei mea pepelo faamolemole..”
Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil confirmed to Samoa Global News that 89 year old Taualii was caught in the fire that is suspected to have been started by a mosquito coil.
“Our preliminary investigation suggests that the fire stemmed from a mosquito coil inside of the deceased’s bedroom. At the time of the fire, six family members were inside of the home–all of them managed to escape from the burning home except for the 89 year old home owner.”
It seems by the time the family were awoken by the fire, the entire house was in a blaze.
Videos posted by family members show the home completely destroyed by the fire, including family cars parked nearby.
Taualii Letufuga’s grandchildren, nieces and nephews have posted remembrance tribute messages and videos to share the deep loss they feel.
They remember a loving old man who calls them all into their home for evening prayers every day without fail; and anyone who does not attend would surely be in trouble.