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Newly re-opened Paradise Pizza partially destroyed by fire

Faamasino Upuese Galoia

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It was a little after midnight on Thursday, June 1, 2023 when a fire erupted on the kitchen side of the Paradise Pizza — a newly renovated and re-opened restaurant located alongside the main road of the turn-off to the Tafuna Industrial Park.

Acting Director of the American Samoa Search and Rescue Agency Faamasino Upuese Galoia confirmed to Samoa News that the fire happened on the early morning hours of Thursday, June 1.

The newly minted department, ASSRA combines the Fire Department, Marine Patrol Division and EMS all under one umbrella.

“The initial call was noted at 12:45am and fortunately we made it in time before it spread out to the rest of the building and neighbors,” Galoia told Samoa News.

He said the restaurant was closed for business for the night and only the security guard was around, who contacted the owner, who then reported the fire to the Fire Department.

Galoia said upon arrival the firefighters noticed the fire may have started from the areas where workers usually do food preparations.

Accordingly, an initial assessment indicates the cause of fire appeared to be an electrical fault, however they are still investigating and so far they do not suspect arson.    

 The two-story building had recently been renovated, and a third or a quarter of the building was destroyed by the fire.

The Fire Department officers are still looking at how much damage was caused, including cost-wise, and in the meantime, said police aren’t involved in the investigation yet — and that will not happen if no crime is suspected during the investigation.

Galoia said this is one of several fires they’ve been called in for assistance this year, utilizing the two fire engines from Tafuna, and a big truck from Fagatogo.

He noted that the causes of most fires in the territory is from people being negligent, as well as electrical faults and umu or above ground ovens, like the one at Pavai’a’i last week. 

The Acting Director advises the public to please be cautious at all times when and where there’s fire involved — while cooking, inside and outside — do not leave electric appliances plugged in, and don’t overload an electric outlet.

Galoia noted that if everyone understands the importance of fire safety, then that would solve the problem of causing unnecessary fires at homes and commercial buildings, restaurants included.