Margibi County Health Officer, Dr. Augustine Fannieh, has expressed shock over the burning down of the Government only referral hospital, C.H. Rennie Hospital, describing it as a major loss to the county in terms of its residents’ medical needs.
The hospital, the County Health Officer said, caters to patients within Margibi and its surrounding counties, including Bong, Montserrado, and Grand Bassa.
The incident occured on Sunday, August 15, 2021, during the morning hours, when the hospital’s facilities, including the emergency room, operation room, administrative office, pharmacy, as well as Doctors’ offices and dressing room were all completely damaged by the fire.
There is no record of death during the fire incident. The hospital administration and community residents helped to take patients to the hospital conference hall while an ambulance carried patients to other nearby local health centers.
Addressing reporters, Dr. Fannieh said the incident occurred as a result of electrical problems. Though he did not give details, he said prior to the incident, there was a report that there was an electrical fault at the hospital facility. He said some parts of the hospital were safe, including the outpatient ward, and the adult ward.
He also used the medium to appreciate community residents who helped to quench the fire.
Margibi County does have a fire truck/anti fire equipment to battle fire related events. When fire gutted the hospital, Firestone Liberia sent two of its fire trucks to help citizens battle the flame, but some residents who were at the hospital premises resisted entrance of the equipment, throwing stones at the trucks and breaking the windshields of the truck.
One of the drivers reportedly sustained injuries and later escaped the scene.
Responding to the incident, Liberia Health Minister Dr. Williamina Jallah encouraged patients and caretakers to remain hopeful as the government prepares to do everything possible to address their health needs. She also assured the government's commitment in rebuilding/renovating the damaged facility.
The Chairman of the Margibi County Legislative Caucus, Rep. Tibelrosa Tarponweh, described the incident as a great loss to Margibi and assured the county caucus’s commitment to working along with the health team to address the situation.
In a related development, Saturday, August 14 saw another disaster in central Monrovia when a truck belonging to Aminata Filling Station carrying fuel over the weekend lost control and dropped from a curve on Front Street leaving eight persons seriously injured.
The tanker dropped from the curve and tumbled down a steep, rocky hill nearby, bursting into heavy flames and smoke. Marketeers and others who converged in huge numbers in this area daily were seen running helter-skelter for their lives.
The flames spread as far as Water Street, a major commercial hub in central Monrovia, leaving four residential buildings, a restaurant and two footwear stores badly burned.
Assatu Wreh and other family members, including a two-year-old baby, managed to exit the building through one of the windows at the back of the house, according to Darling Suomie who had spoken with reporters earlier.
Madam Wreh and some of the family members were taken to one of the clinics in the South Beach Community immediately after they exited their building.
Meanwhile, the Management of Aminata and Sons Incorporated has expressed regret over the incident and promised to help repair damage done to people and the environment.
“We sincerely regret the incident and would like to assure the General Public that the insurance covering the truck was informed in time about the accident and is actively working with the Liberia National Police and the matter is being handled,” a statement from the management said.