Despite its limited manpower and logistical challenges, the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) saves the commercial district of Bushrod Island from what could have been a devastating scene when fire gutted two tier shops opposite Sonia Pharmacy at the entrance of the densely populated slum community of Clara Town on Friday, September 29.
It took firefighters from the National Fire Service some minutes, according to one senior officer of the LNFS, to get to the blazing tier shops. Firefighters subsequently off the fire, thereby, preventing it from spreading to adjacent stores which could have caused unimaginable disaster.
Eyewitnesses on the scene narrate that they saw smoke emitting from the generator room and later into one of the warehouses adjacent the shop. But authorities of the LNFS say investigation is still ongoing to determine the cause of the fire. No one could identify the source of the fire or suggest what might have been the cause. However, a light smoke and a blazing fire were still hovering over the two shops till evening when the Liberia National Police instructed all cars to ply on only one side of the road, something which led to huge traffic congestion on the entire Bushrod Island.
Meanwhile, some eyewitnesses blame the LNFS for wasting so much time in coming on the scene to fight the blazing fire. They explain that the fire started at 10:00 in the morning and all efforts by employees of the premises to use fire extinguishers to off the fire did not materialize.
Owners of the tier shops were also seen running helter-skelter scavenging for what was left of their businesses. The fire occurred near the street where commercial vehicles usually park to get passengers bound for central Monrovia. Commuters and passers-by stood at the scene, gazing at what was left of the fire, as they express regret for the losses, something which has caused huge traffic on the Bushrod Island.
Fire incidents on Bushrod Island are frequent, sometimes claiming lives and properties, and leaving families in agony. “It is time for some fire prevention education,” a young man said. “Or at least the communities must begin to do something to prevent unnecessary losses”, notes Amos Tokpa, a Clara Town resident.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne