Fires Destroy Several Homes, Business Centers in Ganta

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What is left of one of the burned homes.

-Victims appeal for help

A fire incident has left several homes and business centers in the commercial city of Ganta, Nimba County, destroyed  and occupants homeless on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. The affected homes included an eight-bedroom house in the Public Works Community, behind Sam’s Kollie Guesthouse.

An eyewitness informed the Daily Observer that the fire began at about 10 a.m., after nearly all the occupants were out for various activities.

It was speculated that a little girl (not named), who is living with her sister in the house, cut-off the fire from the coal-pot, but it appeared that she had not cut-off the fire well before taking the coal-pot into their bedroom.

Police officers are yet to comment on how the fire started at the house, but one of the victims, George Tonpoe, Jr., 25, was heard crying: “We lost everything we had in the house.”

“I left for work and my girlfriend left for school, only to be called that our house was on fire,” he said.

Tonpoe: “The clothes on me is the only thing that’s been left with me.”

There were about 28 renters in the house, but neither of them was injured except for a man who fainted when he found his bag of money burned.

When the Daily Observer visited the area, some of the victims, including a baby mother, were screaming and crying for help, saying, “How will we begin our lives when everything we owned are being consumed by the fire?”

Jonathan Harris, an occupant, said, “I lived in the house since 2004, and this incident has left us distressed because all our belongings were destroyed. Where do we go from here in the midst of the country’s hardship?”

In another development, on Sunday, December 2, a fire incident left another house and a tailor’s shop in the Gbatu Quarter community burned, destroying all the household materials.

The causes of those fire disasters are yet to be established, but eyewitnesses said the third incident occurred around 4 a.m. from a one bedroom apartment and later spread to the nearby tailor’s shop.

Ganta is one of the busiest cities in Liberia, but the lack of fire service poses a serious threat to businesses and homes.

“We are living in a country where there is no fire service to respond to outbreaks, yet we are paying taxes to government,” said an aggrieved citizen.

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