19 Dec 2005

Chaos as Christmas shoppers flee fire in Fiji's capital

7:24 am on 19 December 2005

Investigations are underway in Fiji into a huge fire at a big supermarket in central Suva on Saturday.

There was chaos as seven hundred Christmas shoppers were forced to flee the blaze in the Morris Hedstroms Supermarket opposite the Suva markets just before noon.

Thousands more had to be evacuated from an adjacent furniture and white goods centre and nearby shops and offices.

When firemen arrived, they were handicapped by damaged fire hydrants, low water pressure and leaking hoses.

It took over four hours to bring the blaze under control .

Damage has been estimated at many millions of dollars and forensic experts from the Australian Federal Police have been called in to look into the cause of the fire.