Fire gutted the building housing Radio Kakata in Margibi County over the weekend, and completely destroyed US$25K worth of valuables to ashes.
The station manager, Samuel O. Borbor, said the fire is a serious setback to the people of Kakata and Liberia’s media industry.
“It is a great setback because Kakata is part of Liberia and the loss of a media house that has over the years served the locals diligently is a clear indication that the entire Liberian media fraternity is affected,” Borbor said.
Trying to recount the series of events leading to the fire, Borbor said the station’s last program went off air at 12:06 a.m. on Friday, “and all appliances were disconnected from the main, except for a few light bulbs for security.”
He said it was therefore a shock to hear that fire gutted the station at 1:55 a.m.
The fire, he said, started from the main studio before spreading to all other parts of the building.
He said six desktop computers, 10 plastic and 11 wooden chairs, a studio and eight office desks, five computer monitors as well as US$230 and L$26,000 went up in flames.
Mr. Borbor said the station’s 1,000 watt transmitter was donated to the people of Kakata by the station’s partner, Henry Costa, a popular talk show host.
The actual cause of the fire is yet to be established but most eyewitnesses blame the situation on electrical fault.
However, nearby resident Martu Kennedy said from all indications she observed that the fire was ignited by “some unknown persons.”
“I cried because the station has served all of us over the years, and our closeness to the management means that we are all affected,” Kennedy said.
For his part, Liberian National Fire Service (LNFS) Margibi County Commander James Y.B. Freeman said Radio Kakata’s and all other previous fire-related disasters are sad events that could have been avoided, and cited the lack of logistics to enhance his personnel’s response to fire disasters as a possible reason why they were not.
“We are just here like toothless bulldogs,” Mr. Freeman said.
He said that although the LNFS has a newly constructed office in Kakata, up to the present, however, there is no equipment to combat fire outbreaks.
When contacted via phone, the Superintendent of the County, John Z. Buway, expressed regret for the loss of the station. He called on the station manager and his co-workers to draft a blueprint for the reconstruction of a new and improved radio station with necessary fire extinguishers mounted.