UL Teaching Assistant Loses US$20K Home to Fire

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Mr. Philips said the clothes on him were the only things he could save and therefore needs urgent material and financial support

Appeals to Red Cross, others for humanitarian support

Tragedy struck the residence of University of Liberia Teaching Assistant (TA) Wacoco Philips when his two-bedroom estate unit at NASSCORP Village burnt down yesterday afternoon in Brewerville, outside Monrovia.

The two-bedroom unit was part of the 163 housing units built by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and funded through the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), with support from the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI).

According to the LBDI arrangement, each unit costs US$20,000 and buyers must make a down payment of US$4,000.

“I paid US$11,800,” Mr. Philips told the Daily Observer yesterday. “I am to pay the balance by a mortgage arrangement through the LBDI.” He said his investment is gone, and he is not sure how he would repay the balance on the house, which is about US$9,200.

His immediate concern, he said, are life’s basic necessities that could ease his family’s tragedy. His family includes his wife, two kids and a granddaughter, who are presently displaced and staying with neighbors.

Philip says he lost everything but the clothes on him. Among items lost in the blaze, he said, were two mattresses, clothes, one laptop, shoes, dresses and others.

“I am appealing to the National Red Cross to assist me and my family because we have lost all that we have had,” Mr. Philip said in an appeal to the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS).

The NASSCORP Village idea was promoted by the administration of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, to enable Liberian middle-income earners become homeowners. The project was carried out in three phases. The first phase built 58 units; second phase constructed 35 units and the third phase completed 70 units. The units were all constructed by Liberian-owned construction companies, through a competitive bidding process, an NHA official told the Daily Observer.

Though there was no official confirmation as to whether there is any fire insurance on the units, NHA officials say they are looking into the matter.

On the fire incident, Philips said it occurred around 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, while he and his family were at home. He said he went into his room to check on his cell phone and saw smoke.

“I shouted for help and neighbors came to assist me put the fire out, but without success,” he said. “We watched the unit burn down and my investment is gone to the dust.” He said as it became clear that his unit could not be saved, neighbors fought hard to make sure that the fire did not affect nearby units.

“It would have been too bad if others had suffered with me,” he said.

He said anyone interested in responding to his appeal should please call  0777-703-999 and 0886-856-861.

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