Our heart is with Rep. Koon

Sobbing Montserrado County District#11 Representative Richard Koon, who lost four family members, including his mother over the weekend reportedly from Carbon Monoxide poisoning is still struggling to come to terms with the unfortunate incident that is sure to live with that family for a very long time.

Koon’s mother Ma Lucky reportedly died upon arrival at the JFK Hospital Saturday, while his brother Francis Koon and two sisters Tina and Julie died in succession from Saturday through Monday this week. A fifth victim, said to be a sister of the Lawmaker is in critical condition at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Sinkor, Monrovia.

Neighbors narrate the incident started Saturday night, 16 March at the family’s residence in Barnesville outside Monrovia when the power generator in the home overly emitted the poisonous gas, which was inhaled by occupants. Symptoms from inhaling Carbon Monoxide include headache, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, chest pain, loss of consciousness, seizures or death.

Our heart goes out to the entire family, especially Representative Koon, who is also an Accounting lecturer at the University of Liberia. We say take heart and may God Almighty lead you and the rest of the family in this period of bereavement.

Irregular electricity supply or complete lack of it to most parts of Monrovia and its environs has led residents to resort to keeping power generators in their homes, which poses grave danger, particularly in poorly ventilated environment.

This is not the first generator incident in Monrovia or parts adjacent, resulting to death. Several individuals have become victims of inhaling Carbon Monoxide or suffering direct fire burns while trying to get their generators on, including David Mel, a famously talented Liberian musician who suffered several degrees of burn on his face some time ago. David was subsequently flown out of Liberia for advance medication and since then he has not been active on the music scene locally.

Similarly in December 2016 a United States-based Liberian couple, Shelly and Lawrence, who had returned to Liberia to celebrate their wedding anniversary were found dead in their bedroom from suffocation as a result of inhaling Carbon Monoxide from generator smoke on December 25 at their host’s residence.

Smoke emitted from generators and moving vehicles are dangerous to human life and should never be taken for granted. Every caution should be exercised in homes, at business and work places, churches, schools or wherever generators are operated.

We believe the family of Representative Koon and other fellow citizens would not have suffered deaths and irreparable bodily harm if the power situation in our country were improved by now. But despite construction of a new power plant at the Mount Coffee Hydro in White Plain, Montserrado County, electricity for ordinary Liberians still remains a luxury.

We mourn with the Koon family and all others who have become victims of Carbon Monoxide as a result of inhaling generator smoke or suffering burns from generator and electrical fire. It is about time government prioritize distribution of power to all parts of Liberia not only for residential use but businesses, particularly to boost our economy. Electricity is not just a necessity but an important deterrent strategy against criminals.

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