The NEWS (Monrovia)

17 December 2012

Liberia: Woman, Son Died in Fire Outbreak

There were wailing in Kpawouyah Town, District #2, Montserrado County, last Friday when a woman identified as Oretha Konah believed to be in her early thirties and her five years old son died as a result of fire which gutted the house in which they lived.

The fire was caused by candle light.

Josephus R. Johnson, owner of the house told this paper "I came from town around 8:45 pm and entered straight into my room and did not bother to ask for Oretha because by then she was in her room and her door was closed. Few minutes later I noticed a very thick smoke in the house and so I came out to find out the cause of the smoke and when I entered the hallway, I saw smoke in Oretha's room so immediately I opened the front door and started shouting for help."

Mr. Johnson explained that after he screamed, the community people came to his rescue and assisted him to extinguish the fire.

He said despite the intervention by community people, it was impossible to rescue the woman and her sons as they were already dead.

He said when they burst the door of Oretha's room, her personal belongings including mattress and floor mats were consumed by the raging fire.

Johnson described the late Oretha as someone who was very helpful to community dwellers because it was through the washing of people clothes, cleaning of homes in the surrounding that she got her daily bread.

The Liberia National Police and UNMIL established that the death was caused by suffocation from fire caused by candle light.

Family members claimed that there was foul play in the death of their relatives, but UNMIL and the LNP dismissed the claim.

However, information gathered by this paper has revealed that the late Oretha Konah might have died prior to the extension of the fire due to her prolonged sickness.

Family members who spoke to this paper also confirmed that the late Oretha was sick for some time, but could not say whether she was alive upon the outbreak of the fire.

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