By Dave Ansu Swary (Student, UL Mass Com. Department)
Harry J. Teah and his family live in Kardounma 9th Street Community in Barnersville outside Monrovia. Like others who had encountered disaster from a fire in recent times, the Teah family on January 11 found themselves homeless when fire gutted the three-apartment house hosting them.
As Mr. Teah was thinking what he could do to meet his obligation to his children’s education, his entire thought process digressed to how the family can find shelter and other necessities, having lost almost all that they had in the fire disaster.
There were 22 occupants in the six-bedroom apartment with none affected; nevertheless, they lost all materials including freezers, mattresses, television and furniture that help them make a degree of comfort in their dwelling.
In a distressful mood, Harry Teah, who could not exactly state the cause of the fire, attributed it to “electrical fault”.
“Every effort made even by the police to contact Fire Service did not yield fruit as no one could come to even see what went on,” Teah expressed in frustration.
As attention drew to the calamity of the Teah family, a nearby house came under an attack by fire with the source hardly traced.
Philip Wakocco and the rest of the seven occupants in the mud house were surprised to see the fire in the kitchen, but with the help of the neighbors the fire was quenched. Unlike the Teahs, whose house was totally consumed, only a room in the Wakocco’s house was really affected by the fire.
It may not be too surprising to hear about fire disaster in Monrovia as many recent instances of grave concern have occurred. Early this January there was a disaster in Paynesville that left three girls dead.
In September last year, at least 27 people, most of them children, died in fire in an Islamic Boarding School. In Sinkor last month there was another fire disaster that left several homeless.
According to the National Fire Service, most of the fire incidents in Monrovia are caused by electrical fault and burning of candles.
“People play with electricity that they will do [illegal] direct connections or just go about making connections without knowing the consequences. Again, others who are still burning candles or mosquito coil do not place these things on iron or in a safe place, but will put them near rubber materials or cotton, and this is what can cause the fire,” said NFS officer who asked to remain anonymous.