At least seven occupants of a four-bedroom apartment have died when fire gutted their two-storey residence at the Conner of Carey and Gurley streets in Monrovia at 1:00am on Thursday.
He apartment, which had a total of eight occupants, including four adults and four children, was headed by a Fulani businessman identified as Armeh Sow. Mr. Sow, along with his entire family, including his wife, brother, three children, and two sisters, who resided on the 2nd floor of the building, reportedly died in the fire
Speaking to this paper following the incident, Prince Withiaspoon, a close neighbour, who was on the scene, narrated that it all started at 1:00 am Thursday when residents of the community heard people crying for help, but no one was around to go to the victims’ rescue.
According to him, the residents immediately woke up and called the Liberia National Fire Service. But he said the fire service took nearly an hour to arrive on the scene and when fire fighters finally arrived, the raging fire has killed all occupants on the 2nd floor of the two-storey building.
He noted that if the fire fighters had arrived early, there would have been survivors from the incident. Mr. Withaispoon blamed the national fire service for not responding swiftly to calls from the public, noting that fire fighters are always in the habit of coming on the scene of a fire outbreak and then returning to get water, which causes delay, leading to deaths and lost of properties.
The cause of the fire was not immediately established, but the death toll has sent chills in the spines of residents, whom like other Monrovia residents, are already grappling with the deadly Ebola virus outbreak across Liberia.
The heavily congested community is in the heart of Monrovia, surrounded by bustling economic activities. Monrovia had suffered several fire outbreaks, leading to destruction of lives and properties.
Early this year, a business center, Two Brothers’ Store in the heavily congested commercial district of Waterside was gutted by fire, killing scores of persons, including one fire fighter and several looters.
Investigators later identified electrical shocks as the cause of the fire. Aggrieved residents also blamed lack of proper coordination among fire service personnel which led to the escalation of the fire.