The Pagos Island community in Congo Town was a scene of grief and disbelief when a fire incident that awakened the community early Thursday morning left an entire family dead.
The fire, which gutted the five-room zinc shack, left a man, his wife, and three children dead. Eleven other occupants of the house were fortunate to escape death, eyewitnesses said.
Neighbors wept for their losses.
An eyewitness told the Daily Observer that the fire, which started around 3 a.m., might have been caused by faulty electrical wiring, though this is yet to be independently confirmed.
The victims included Emmanuel Morris, 28; his girlfriend Felicia, their son Leroy, and a set of twins.
Emmanuel’s mother, Rebecca Morris, wept uncontrollably, but managed to explain that her son was the breadwinner for her family.
Mrs. Morris, the Daily Observer learned, is no stranger to grief. Fifteen years ago (November 2003) she lost her husband, and had to cater to their nine children. Emmanuel eventually emerged as the man of the family; and through him, she was able to bring the rest of the children up.
“I sold ‘bonny’ [fish] in Buchanan until we moved to this island. Every morning I go to Red Light to buy bitter balls to sell until my son grew up and started working, which improved our lives. He was the one that built this house for me,” she said.
Rebecca said she was asleep when she heard people calling her that her son’s house was on fire.
“I woke up and rushed there only to discover that the fire was coming from my son’s room,” she said. “Everybody in the house came out safe except my son and his family.”
Rebecca meanwhile appealed to the Liberian government, NGOs, and other Liberians to come to her assistance so that she can support her remaining children, because “the eyes I used are gone. My children and I are wasting outside, no pa, the person that was helping us is gone.”
Boima Johnson, one of the survivors, said he was in bed when he heard what sounded like ‘fire’ in the house, and heard Emmanuel saying he could not find his way out.
“I told Emmanuel to go through the window so I can help him, but he later told me that he cannot make it because his eyes were dark,” Johnson said.
He said the death of Emmanuel and his family is a big loss to Pagos Island residents.
Suku Messah, community chairman, said they are trying to console the family to recover from their loss.
Messah said the house was made of zinc and mat, with just one door, which made it difficult for the victims to find their way out to safety, since the fire came from the fifth room in the zinc house.
He said the community provided a pickup truck to take the bodies for burial.