Fire Destroys Gertrude C. Wayne Family Nursery Center in Congo Town

Damaged structure of the Gertrude C. Wayne Family Nursery Center Day Care and Kindergarten School, along the SKD Boulevard in Congo Town

Another fire disaster has struck the Gertrude C. Wayne Family Nursery Center Day Care and Kindergarten School, along the SKD Boulevard, leaving several school uniforms and other important documents destroyed. The five-room building hosted about 50 Kindergarten students.

The Principal of the school, Musu Johnson, told the Daily Observer that it was very shocking to have received multiple calls, of which one of the calls came from someone who lives in the Swakamore community where the school is located, informing her about the fire incident. Shortly after the first call, she narrated, “I  also received a call from one of my teachers between 9:00 to 9:30 p.m., saying, ‘Teacher Pepper, someone set our school ablaze, but we don’t know yet’,” she quoted the teacher.

She said since the establishment of the school in 2017, nothing of such had taken place in the area. But when asked as to whether the school had private security, she said, no. “There has been no security here because we feel that the school is within the community.” As such, she said, they believe that community dwellers whose children benefit from the school would have served as security in the absence of the LNP.”

“The fire has damaged some important documents and cash, amounting to L$9,000 plus US$50,” she said. The school, she said, is owned and operated by former Education Minister, Dr. Evelyn S. Kandakai.

Since the foundation of the school, she said, it has graduated over 150 students who have left the community to attend different schools around Monrovia.

“This is not an electrical problem because no one uses current here, even people in the community had been finding it difficult to get LEC, so it beats my imagination to believe that this was done by unknown individuals who do not want to see progress,” Madam Johnson claims.

The incident, she said, has brought a total setback to parents and guardians who, according to her, had already paid their children’s school feels prior to the tragedy.

“In fact, one of the parents came here a day before the terrible incident and paid for his children uniform and tuition,” Madam Johnson said.

Ms. Elizabeth W. Wea, a teacher of the school, told the Daily Observer that it was very sad to note that fire gutted a building where there is no electricity and no one to account for such. She attributed the incident to the lack of security presence at the school. “I have been teaching this school since 2018. I am disappointed so much how these kids are going to get back to school,” she wondered.

Naomi Bryant, a parent, said he had two children in the school, but one of them got promoted to a higher class and matriculated elsewhere. According to her, the school was a great help to many parents in the community because it was affordable.

“We are yet to know what is the cause on the fire. We have been here for the past five years and nothing of such had happened,” Bryant noted.  “Most of the children around here are attending this school because it is affordable and accessible. The children do not have to take the risk of crossing the main street where cars and motorbikes ply constantly,” she said.

Residents in the community told the Daily Observer that when the incident took place, two police officers from the Liberia National Police visited the area, but have yet to establish the cause of the fire.


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