The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Unceasing Fire Reports Expose LFS Weaknesses

Uninterrupted fire encounters across Monrovia and its environs continue to expose the Liberia National Fire Service’s (LNFS) weakness to fighting fire in real time.
The recent fire disaster which claimed the lives of five persons in District 4 of Montserrado County is a classic evidence that showcased the inability of Liberia’s fire-fighting team to handle such disasters as well as the need to upgrade the team and provide the necessary logistics
During the evening hours of February 21, 2024, residents of the Cow Field Community in Duport Road, Paynesville were embraced by a blazing inferno, as five persons were found dead in a five-bedroom house which was gutted by fire during the evening hours.
The shocking fire incident claimed the lives of four-year-old Alexandra Johnson; Eleazar P. Zamerzar, 16; Jennifer Johnson, 37; Pauline Myers, 26 and 11-year-old Cecelia Fallah, who were all burnt beyond recognition in the fire.
One community member, who only identified himself as Emmanuel, charged that the fire outbreak was as a result of a candle lit in one of the rooms while all deceased were asleep.
“We called the Liberia National Fire Service, but to no avail, so we had to get water from one of the community members’ homes to help quench the fire so that it could not extend to our home,” the eyewitness narrated.
Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) Mayor-designate, Robert Bestman expressed shock about the incident noting that the incident is an irreparable loss, not only for the City of Paynesville, but for Liberia at large, and pledged the PCC’s commitment to working with the bereaved families to ensure that their loved ones receive a befitting burial, and as well promised assistance to survivors.
Montserrado County District 4 Representative, Michael Thomas, who is a neighbor to the victims said, he was saddened by the incident and committed to providing relief for the survivors as well.
He promised to work with his colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that logistics, including fire trucks and extinguishers are provided to the PCC to help curtail the wave of fire outbreaks in the city.
The Liberia National Fire Service has always appealed for an increase in its budgetary allotment to purchase equipment and train personnel across the country so as to help curb some these fire incidents.
The empowerment of the Liberia National fire Service should also target training local fire fighters on how to create more community awareness about fire disasters and the use of extinguishers while awaiting the fire team by taking along some extinguishers and encouraging community households to purchase at a reasonable costs.
In less than five months, five homes have been gutted with fire, leaving about 12 persons dead in three of the disasters.
Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph narrowly escaped death early this month when his home in Congo Town was gutted by fire.
He and other occupants of the house were left stranded as the fire engulfed the entire building though it was by the intervention of his neighbors that their lives were secured.
Another incident happened during the evening hours of September 25, 2023 in Caldwell-New Georgia when victims were asleep.
The fatal inferno broke out and claimed the lives of the mother of the late Angel Togba and four other persons, including the deceased’s two grandchildren as well as the late Angel’s two siblings.
Though the cause of the fire was not established by the LNFS, some residents of the community attributed the cause of the fire to a malfunctioned electrical wire.
On the first Sunday in January of this year, another home was burnt to the ground in the same Caldwell-New Georgia community, but fate had it that all the occupants had left to attend church service when the house went ablaze in the scourging sun.
Also in December, in the Bong Mines Bridge Community, just a few steps to the Metro Police Station, where the Bushrod Island detachment of the LNFS is situated, a Chinese family of three was killed by a fire disaster that burnt their apartment on the fourth floor of the building in the middle of the night; the cause of the fire outbreak has not been revealed.

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