An early morning fire outbreak in New Kru Town last Thursday that residents claimed was started by an unattended candle destroyed seven zinc houses, rendering more than 70 people homeless.
It is the second time this month that fire has destroyed properties worth thousands of dollars and forced many to seek shelter from neighbors and relatives in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island.
An eye-witness told the Daily Observer yesterday morning, “It began around one in the morning when everyone was asleep.
“We heard the noise of fire and so we rushed outside to see and if possible, help.”
He explained that as the fire increased in intensity, “all anybody could do was to leave for a secure area while at the same time we made sure that other zinc houses nearby did not get affected.”
He said the fire started from an unattended candle in one of the zinc houses that burned.
“We have always told the resident not to leave candles on,” the eye-witness said, “but he would not listen.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of the community, Joe Carr told the Daily Observer that more than 70 residents are affected, “They have lost everything they had.”
Carr, who heads the Karpeh Street Community, appealed to the Liberia National Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organizations to come to their assistance.
“They need urgent intervention such as clothes, mattresses, food and shoes,” Carr said.
Carr, who is in his first term, said, “We have listed the names of all the affected residents and we are located behind the First Baptist Church, near Karpeh Street in New Kru Town.”
Among the affected residents, most of them self-employed, are Joseph Blamo, 63; Martha Neboe, 30 (with 5 kids) who said she lost LD4,000; Rose Blamoh, 16; Victoria Allieu, 25.
Others are Cyrus Nagbe, 36; Anthony Wesseh, 72; Daniel Kollie, 27; Hamidou Jalloh, 19; Jr. Kollie, 21; Wilson Weah, 47, Joseph Wilson, 58 and Wilson Brown, 32, who works as a security for the Barrack Young Controllers football club; and Ms. Patricia Doe, 30, with 3 kids, who also said ‘someone’ stole LD9,000 from her room, directly adjacent to the affected houses.
The Daily Observer also learnt that a team of Liberia Fire Service personnel called to the scene could not find enough space to work from. “The houses are clustered together and it was difficult for the officers to reach the scene,” a neighbor said.
Most of the zinc houses, particularly on Karpeh Street, were built in the 1960s, residents said. “They don’t have toilet facilities,” said another neighbor, “but we are blessed with the construction of latrines by humanitarian groups, of which at least three are located on Karpeh Street here.”