26 Jul 2007

American Samoan government found liable over shopping centre fire

1:38 pm on 26 July 2007

American Samoa's High Court has ruled that the territory's government is liable for 6.6 million US dollars in damages caused by a fire which destroyed the Laufou shopping centre in 2002.

The court found that negligence by the Fire Bureau caused the damage to the centre.

In its ruling, it stated that firefighters encountered a small fire which they should have been able to extinguish quickly but those attending weren't wearing protective clothing or carrying fire equipment.

It also said the blaze quickly became an inferno because firefighters tried connecting to nearby hydrants but several hoses had holes and their defective condition contributed to their inability to put out the fire.

The court therefore ruled in favour of the insurance company, Progressive Insurance, against the American Samoan government.