The Afriland First Bank situated on Crown Hill, Broad Street in Monrovia narrowly escaped a threatening fire disaster when a wooden electric power pole connecting to the bankblazed in flames late Wednesday evening March 2, just about closing hours as bankers fled their offices for safety amidst chaos and confusion.
The cause of the fire at the power pole planted by the Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC was not immediately established, but employees of the bank succeeded in extinguishing the fire before firefighters from the Liberia National Fire Service or LNFS arrived on the scene yesterday.
A transformer on the pole burnt extensively to an extent that what appeared to look like its cover blew off from the pole and fell to the ground, releasing dark smoke in the air. Up to the time bank employees were going home, upon the departure of the national fire service, the LEC had not shown up to the incident scene, despite claims by some anonymous fire service operatives that the corporation was equally contacted after they received report of the incident.
A fire service source suggested that the team from LEC should have long switched off the main powerline at its transmission center to reduce the intensity of the blaze before the arrival of fire service personnel to fight the fire.
Afriland First Bank CEO, Mr. Hamadou Bayo, told journalists on the scene that the bank used its fire extinguisher to stop the fire, though he said the firefighters came in on time. But Mr. Bayo said while they placed in call for the fire service, they also had to find their own solution, saying “That’s why we have the fire extinguisher for.”
He added that upon the incident, everything (electrical appliances) was cut off in thebank. CEO Bayo said such fire incident was its first time happening at the bank, but said he could not say anything further until investigation is done properly.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne