PHOTO: A lot of smoke and not due to burning rubbish. View from Talau.
Around 5 AM local time on Saturday, September 18, 2010, La Alvina Lodge in central Neiafu burned down to ashes. Early speculations claim that the cause of the fire was from a lit cigarette or a match. No lives were lost from the incident. All the guests evacuated from the building. The Dancing Rooster bar and restaurant, the building next door, was spared and did not suffer from any major damages. Neighbors from around the area rushed to the scene to help control the fire. The Neiafu Fire Department also responded to the incident. However, rumors have spread that one of the fire trucks ran out of the water and some of the fire staff were "under the influence" from the night before. It was a Friday night in Tonga after all, wasn't? As a result, It wouldn't be a big surprise if all these rumors were true. Regardless of what the truth is, La Alvina Lodge is gone and nobody got seriously hurt. Here were some photos from the aftermath.