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Burning cigarette butt suspected to have sparked large fire in Apia

fire in downtown Apia

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A discarded cigarette butt is suspected to have torched one building leading to the near destruction of the adjacent TV3 Samoa building in Apia.

Samoa's Fire and Emergency Services Authority said their investigation unit suspects the cigarette sparked the fire on Wednesday.

The fire began at Maria's Mall and Talofa Airways and spread to the TV3 building next door.

Fire authority commissioner Tanuvasa Petone Mauga said their investigations are already looking at a likely source.

"The Maria's Pharmacy building was damaged and we're awaiting a report from our investigation unit but eyewitnesses said they saw the flames just outside the Talofa Airways' window and that's where it started," he told the Samoa Observer.

The fire started around 6am and the firefighters saved some of the properties in the area while most of the two-story building was damaged.

TV3 Samoa has moved to their other office in Vaitele as the fire destroyed most of their property.

The fire spread to their roof and about five of their rooms caught fire.

Owner of Maria's Pharmacy and the Talofa Airways building, Maria Westerland-Hunter posted on social media about the incident.

"Dear valued customers, our Taufusi branch will be closed due to an unexpected fire this morning. We will reopen as soon as we can to cater for your pharmaceutical needs," her post reads.

"Our Vaitele branch is open for all your prescription medicines and our Motootua branch will reopen as soon as we can. We apologise for any inconvenience."