By David S. Menjor and Simeon Wiakanty
The night of Monday, March 4, 2019 was one of terror for residents of the Sureway neighborhood of Duazon, Margibi Electoral District #1 as three children (all girls) lost their lives in an unexplained fire incident that ravaged their one-bedroom zinc shack.
It was even more difficult for anyone to have helped Helena Whlehyou, 8, Savior Nyumah 5, and Tina Nyumah 3, according to eyewitnesses, who said that the door of the zinc shack was locked from the inside. So, when neighbors went to help save their lives, it was too late for the fire had blazed uncontrollably.
The three victims were children of Esther David, 23, who could not be consoled because of the immense devastation and her irreparable loss.
At the scene of the incident, it was difficult to get Esther David’s neighbors to speak of the tragedy due to the overwhelming sorrow that had gripped them and left them thinking of answers they would probably never find.
Braving the pain of the tragedy, Henry Kolleh, a neighbor and a father of two, said he is traumatized after the death of the kids.
“We do not have electricity here and, as such, we go to bed very early most of the time. The children were around here moments before we went inside. They went to their house but shortly we heard someone calling for help outside,” Kolleh said.
He said he was shocked to have seen his neighbor’s house in flames.
“We went there to help but we could not open the door because it was locked inside and the fire was too hot for us to break any other part of the house to save the kids,” he lamented.
Kolleh stated that he and his fellow neighbors are broken down by the death of the three girls. “Their mother Esther has been very good to us. Therefore, her children were our children and so we treated them as such,” he said, promising that he will be in prayer with Esther, to find solace in God.
In a telephone conversation, Esther David said she is completely broken and believe that life may never be meaningful to her again.
“I think death is better than life right now for me. I don’t know what I am living for again,” Ms. David said in tears.
Though the cause of the fire is yet to be established, Ms. David explained that in the evening of the incident there was no candle or coal pot that were left unattended in the room.
“I went to one of my friends for hot water to bath after returning from the market because the area was already dark and every other person nearby was already indoor so I told my children to lock the door until I come back to them,” Ms. David said.
About how she came to be an occupant of the place, she said she was a caretaker of a neighbor’s land. She said the unnamed landowner built the zinc shack that she occupied with her children for the last two years.
“Apart from the five bags of cement and the ten pieces of steel rod my landlord had in the place, nothing much was there. We had nothing else that one can say was the cause of the fire. I cannot imagine, up to this moment what led to the fire,” she said.
On the scene of the incident, an onlooker said, “It is only God that will console Esther David. She is too young for this tragic experience.”
Esther David said she is presently being accommodated by a relative on Tower Hill, along the Roberts Field Highway.