Man Sets Fire to Petrol Station, Kills his Wife and Takes his own Life

The man set fire to the petrol station where his wife worked.

A man set fire to the Apia Maroon petrol station this afternoon, then stabbed and killed his wife before taking his own life in Samoa’s latest horrific incident of domestic violence.

Witnesses say the couple had been arguing for quite some time before the incident elevated to the man setting fire to the back office of the petrol station located next door to the Ligaliga funeral parlour in Apia.

The fire was set at the back office of the petrol station

He then chased down his wife who witnesses say tripped and fell infront of the Ligaliga building next door. While on the ground, witnesses say the man stabbed his wife in the chest area with a knife and left her lying on the side of the road.

Inappropriate footage of the young woman’s deceased body have circulated on social media since the incident showing her bloodied chest area. Various footage had been filmed and uploaded by cars passing by the scene of the crime.

The body of the man was later found by police inside the Anglican church compound behind the petrol station. He is believed to have taken his own life.

According to the owners of the petrol station, the deceased woman had been working there for over three years.

“She is from Savaii, but has been working here for about three and a half years”.

Asked if her family had been notified because of the many social media posts circulating about the incident, the business owner said that the woman’s aunty and cousin had been to the petrol station.

“They were here, and have only just left; they stood here crying, yes.”

The owner of the petrol station said he was deeply saddened by the incident and was grateful to the Fire and Emergency Services Authority for their swift response.

Assistant Commissioner of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) Tanuvasa Petone Mauga spoke to the media on site.

Assistant Commissioner of FESA Tanuvasa Petone Mauga

He said that when they arrived the woman’s body was still there  but police had taken over the investigation because of its criminal nature.

FESA had stayed behind at the scene to ensure the area was secured due to the inherent hazards of chemicals within the area. A tanker was emptying the petrol from it’s underground storage containers.

The Assistant Fire Commissioner said the damage could have been extensive had there been an explosion.

FESAs quick response averted an explosion

He thanked the department’s first respondents who used special measures to quickly contain the fire and avert what could have been disastrous.

Tanuvasa said the first team to the scene had to act quickly and make a rapid assessment of the situation, taking several factors into consideration including the right material to use for putting out a fire within the hazards of a petrol station.

FESA first responders’ quick action upon arrival averted an explosion.

“The building materials of the Ligaliga building right next door, the wind direction, the right chemicals to use..and take all those factors into consideration..”

He said FESA uses each emergency incident to assess processes and human behaviour reactions to such horrific events.

“Many people were filming as they drove past and put it up.”

“We have to work out where the lapses are and then try and raise awareness”.

For this incident, they believed that the staff had called the owner and the owner may have tried to de-escalate the situation.

A National Inquiry into family safety in Samoa found that over 80 percent of women had been physically or emotionally abused in their lifetime by an intimate partner. Women reported experiencing kicking, punching, slapping (86%), threats of physical violence or bodily harm (87%) and strangling (24%).

Last year in Samoa the Courts dealt with a government CEO who was killed by her husband, and a member of Samoa’s Institute of Accounting who had been shot in the face by her partner.

If you or someone you know is being threatened with physical or emotional abuse, please contact the Samoa Police Domestic Violence Unit on Ph: 22222 or Samoa Victim Support Group Hotline on 800-7974 or 7776609.

The man set fire to the petrol station where his wife worked.

Sina Retzlaff