Victory Christian Church International (VCCI) located in Camp-1 Harbel, Margibi County, was gutted by fire in the early hours of Wednesday, March 2. The fire destroyed the entire roof of the building that was completed and dedicated a few months ago.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire also damaged the only community radio station, E.L. Sky 98.9 FM, which was hosted in the same building, as the inner compartment hosting the radio station was completely destroyed with transmitters and other radio enabling devices incinerated.
Residents said they awoke up at about 2 a.m. that fateful Wednesday to the sound of the blazing flames when a neighbour who spotted the smoke through her widow began calling for help.
VCCI leadership and the Firestone Rubber Plantation Fire Department, which helped contain the blaze, are yet to establish the actual cause of the fire incident, a member of the church said on condition of anonymity.
Although the cause of the fire has not been established, the Daily Observer has learnt that the blaze started from the radio station where a member of the staff was asleep after signing off for the night. The station closes at 12 a.m.
VCCI senior Pastor, Morris Saah, told the Daily Observer that they woke up to the noise from neighbours who were fighting to put out the fire with buckets of water and whatever they could find to extinguish the burning frame.
“The beautiful edifice was just completed a few years ago,” said Pastor Saah, who recalled that members of the congregation had laboured with their hard-earned finances to construct the church.
The pastor said members of the church are finding it difficult to come to terms with the fire disaster,.
“The church does not have money and our members were very supportive in having this building constructed. So we all know how disheartening this situation has been for us. We are practically frustrated,” he lamented.
Pastor Saah is calling on religious, civil society and governmental organizations, NGOs and INGOs to come to their aid to have their edifice reconstructed. He made specific reference to the National Disaster Management Commission, religious aid organizations and the Legislative Caucus of Margibi County.
The Coordinator of the Radio Station, Pastor John S. Quoi, said that the radio station has been the voice of the community and with its destruction he wonders how the community will cope with the situation.
“Everything in the studio was destroyed. We didn’t take anything from the studio. The equipment destroyed include transmitters, mixers, recorders, and amplifiers,” he said. The value of the properties destroyed has been put at US$30,000.00.