Properties lost valued at US$125K
Two persons were killed, more than 20 persons made homeless, and properties, valued at US$125,000, along with thousands of Liberian dollars, were burnt in two separate fire disasters that took place on Friday, December 28, 2018, in Kpelle Town and in the old 72nd Military Barracks, outside Monrovia, respectively.
The incidents of the two victims, who lost their lives, occurred at the old 72nd Military Barracks. However, there was no death reported at the Kpelle Town fire incident, which had 11 occupants.
Though Ezra Keller, Jr. (a retired police colonel), who owns the properties, and James F. Sakama, another victim, claimed that the causes of the fire were due to an “electrical fault,” since the two communities have access to Liberia Electricity Corporation’s (LEC) current, the Daily Observer could not independently confirmed the causes of the fire.
Keller’s property was valued at US$100,000 and James Sakama’s two-apartment house was valued at US$25,000.
According to a resident, the LEC’s services at Kpelle Town were off at most of the night, and Mr. Keller waited for the LEC to restore power to the community.
However, they went to bed only to wake up around 12:30 a.m. to lights on and a blazing fire in the roof of the house.
“I jumped from the bed and rushed to put off the breaker but the fire rapidly swept through the house. It was then that I rushed to get my children out of the house,” he said. It was at midnight on December 28, 2018.
He added, “In less than 11 minutes, the fire had engulfed the entire building to the extent that we had no chance to recover any of our belongings.”
The 72nd Military Barrack’s incident also took place at midnight when most of the residents in the community were fast asleep, according to an eyewitnesses. But several residents who immediately woke up hurriedly rushed to the scene of the fire, and made attempts to put it out but did not succeed.
As cries of neighbors, onlookers and rescuers increased, additional neighbors rushed in to put the fire out, pouring in sand and water. But the raging flames increased in intensity. It was not long before neighbors saw that their effort was meaningless.
“I lost everything I have worked for,” said Ezra Keller, distraught.
Keller and his family are now staying on Duport Road, Paynesville, at a relative’s residence. But they will welcome any help from anywhere to rebuild their home, he told this newspaper.
In a related development, Sakama told this people that, “All my family members are currently seeking refuge with some good neighbors and other relatives in and out of the 72nd community.”
He has 12 family members.
But it could not be confirmed whether the two who lost their lives were occupants of the house in 72nd Military Barracks.
Mr. Sakama said he would need at least 12 bundles of zinc and other building materials to rebuild the house.
Both survivors of the fire outbreak say they are in need of cooking utensils, used clothes, and money for temporary resettlement.
Mr. Sakama regretted that since the fire incident, no disaster and emergency aid agencies from local and international organizations have visited them, and they are appealing for help.
Edwin M. Fayia, III Contributed to this story.