Armed riot officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP) have sealed off scenes of Tuesday’s raging fire in the heart of Monrovia that razed down three stores and several residences, in a bid to prevent criminals commonly known here as “Zogoes” from having access to the affected areas, while investigation is ongoing to establish cause of the incident.
For several hours, firefighters from multiple state security institutions backed by UNMIL firefighters battled against the disaster that struck three stores and several residences in Central Monrovia on Tuesday, leaving many victims to lost their valuables and businesses before it was brought under control.
Upon return to the incident scene a day after the fire broke out, our reporter noticed a huge deployment of armed Police Support Unit (PSU) officers, preventing a huge crowd mixed with suspected looters from getting into the damaged stores and warehouses.
Streets peddlers who are often called zogoes here were seen standing in front of the stores, but could not make their way in after police sealed off the affected areas.
Though the main cause of the fire is not yet known, a police source says the matter is under investigation. Information gathered from bystanders at the scene reveal that the LNP has begun investigating the cause of the fire that gutted three stores and burn down several homes.
A police officer who prevented our reporters from entering the back of the damaged areas says nobody is allowed to enter the premises because they were not authorized to enter there while police investigation was ongoing to find the actual cause of the fire.
Some community residents at the scene were suggesting that fire disaster may have resulted from electrical fault.
It can be recalled, a disastrous fire incident hit Central Monrovia early Tuesday Morning, 20 February, burning three stores and destroying nearby residences on Randall Street in spite of a fleet of firefighter trucks dispatched to the scene by state institutions buttressed by UNMIL Fire Service truck.
The situation immediately claimed the attention of Liberia’s Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor and the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, who both joined other government officials and citizens at the scene Tuesday, while firefighters struggled to control the situation for several hours.
The Liberia National Fire Service, Liberia National Police Fire Service Division, National Port Authority Fire Service Division, Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company Fire Service Division and UNMIL Fire Service Division were joined by other private entities with water tankers in the fight to extinguish the fire that began at about 7a.m. and continued up to 12:45 p.m.
By Ben P. Wesee & Lewis S. The–Edited by Winston W. Parley