The morning hours of Wednesday, December 12, saw a family near a car parking lot in 72nd Army Camp Field watch their two bedroom house being consumed by fire as no one appeared to help put the fire out. Everything in the house is said to have been burned.
Mr. James K.G. Sumo and his spouse Esther Taylor were away when the fire gutted the house, which is believed to have been locked at all ends.
Sumo told the Daily Observer he received a phone call at about 9:40 a.m., informing him about the house being gutted by fire while he was at work in Firestone, Margibi County.
“After the first call in a little over two minutes, I received another call not only confirming that fire had truly gutted my house, but that it had, in totality, engulfed the entire building; there had been no hope to retrieve anything,” he said.
Sumo, who works with the new development (nursery department) of Firestone as a contractor, said upon receiving the information about the fire disaster at his home, he immediately assumed that there must have been an electrical shock, since his house is connected to power supplied by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).
“I cannot say exactly the real cause of the fire incident, but I think the breaker (current regulator) must have been left on by anyone in the house,” he assumed.
Sumo said he is heart-broken by the incident, but he is grateful to God that no one died or sustained wounds amid the fire disaster.
Even though Sumo could not tell exactly what the total cost of his loss was, he said a lot of materials, including a refrigerator, television, clothes, money (both U.S. and Liberian dollars) were in the house when it got burned.
“Not even a pin was taken out of that house. The total cost of the damage, excluding the house, could be put at US$4,500,” he said.
He appealed to well meaning Liberians to lend him a hand of support as he has moved his family to the home of his elder sister where they sleep in the sitting room.
For Sumo’s wife, Esther Taylor, she was in Red Light attending to her business when she received a phone call informing her that her house was on fire.
“I am a market woman. I have lost L$292,000 and US$500 to the fire. I brought the money home just a day ago so I could exchange it for U.S. dollars to send for my goods from the Ivory Coast,” Madam Taylor said.
She said she sells pepper and ground nuts (peanuts) in Red Light.
The victims are meanwhile calling on philanthropists, particularly their district lawmaker Representative Thomas P. Fallah, to help them resettle their lives.
The couple said anyone wishing to assist them can call 0886749125 or 0776179706.