Students yet to calculate the losses
A fire broke out Friday morning in a 30-room dormitory hosting the only female students on Cuttington University (CU) main campus in Suakoko near Gbarnga, Bong County, burning everything the students had taken with them on campus.
The fire was reported about 11:25 a.m. at the female dormitory, otherwise known as “Rally Hall”, on the main campus of the university, while students were in class.
While there were no casualties, the entire facility sustained damage in the fire, which started in a unit that was filled with household items, such as mattresses, clothing and furniture, some eyewitnesses told the Daily Observer.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, according one distressed faculty member.
Cuttington University is owned and operated by the Episcopal Church in Liberia.
Cuttington University Director of Communication, Kweshi Tetteh, said the fire started from the two units containing the Upper Rally Hall before spilling over to the Lower Rally Hall.
Up to the publication of this story, the actual cause of the fire has not been established, but Tetteh told the Daily Observer the administration and the Bong County police are investigating the level of damage have invited fire investigators to investigate the cause of the fire.
However, investigation conducted by this newspaper says the fire might have been caused by “electrical faults.”
“Properties worth hundreds United States Dollars and Liberian Dollars, belonging to students, were lost in the flames, believed to have started from the Upper Rally Hall Dormitory before spilling over to the entire unit,” Tetteh revealed.
He said that there was no casualty in the conflagration, but two female students were taken to the Phebe Hospital as the result of “smoke suffocation,” though their conditions were stable.
“Some of our female students, who were in the dormitory, were forced to make their way through the dark smoke by jumping through windows for their lives,” Tetteh said.
He said about nine rooms were completely destroyed by the fire and that some community members tried without success to extinguish the flames.
“The sad thing is that the Fire Service Department in Bong County does not have “bucket,” least to talk about “vehicle” that would fight fire outbreak,” Tetteh added.
“Some of the students, who were housed in the Rally Hall Dormitory, are now forced to snooze with their friends until the administration can source funding to rehabilitate some of the dormitories at the Agriculture College,” according to Tetteh.
The fire outbreak came just days after Cuttington celebrated its 70th alumni homecoming last weekend, February 22-24, 2019, where issues concerning the development of the institution were high on the agenda.
“This is a serious setback to the university, especially when the school is faced with huge financial crisis, and students are just returning to begin the semester, a lecturer said.
“I was in class when the building was engulfed by fire. My entire belongings, including money, have been consumed by the fire,” one of the female students said in tears.
Cuttington University is a private university in Suakoko, Liberia. Founded in 1889 as Cuttington College by Episcopal Church of the United States. It is the oldest private, coeducational, four-year, degree-granting institution in sub-Saharan Africa.