Liberia: Fire Wrecks Warehouse in Vai Town

Fire damages a busy shopping district in Monrovia

Less than 48 hours following the fire disaster destroyed properties and rendered several people homeless on Randall and Mechlin Streets in central Monrovia, a similar fire incident occurred yesterday in Vai Town, destroying a warehouse that contained goods recently imported into the country.

Items that were destroyed, according to businessman Upjit Singh Sachdeva, included building materials worth in the thousands of the United States dollars. He, however, said he did not know the cause of the fire.

Mr. Sachdeva, commonly known as "Jeety", is also the Honorary Consul General of India in Liberia.

According to him, the fire began at 10 a.m. yesterday and he and neighbors tried to extinguish it, but there was too much smoke that made their efforts unsuccessful. "We then called the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) for help," he said.

He said the series of fire incidents in Monrovia in recent time should claim the attention of the Liberian government and everyone.

Mr. Sachdeva, however, lauded the LNFS, the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) Fire Service team, the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other business friends for their support during the incident.

LNFS Chief of Operations, Major Kessely Sumo

Meanwhile, the Chief of Operations at the LNFS, Major Kesselly Sumo, said that until an investigation was completed the LNFS could not determine the cause of the fire.

"The LNFS is always prepared to engage any fire incident with trained manpower, but currently, we are faced with a lot of challenges in logistics so we are very weak and unable to respond to fire incidents as we would want," he stated.

He pointed out that that there is always a delay in response to many fire incidents around the city because of the lack of the necessary materials to do the job. According to him, "what we have at the LNFS can no longer make us effective to discharge our duties in case of a fire incident."

Major Sumo said many people are misusing electrical appliances that could result in these fire incidents. "People should also expect these incidents because we are in the dry season and we need to be mindful of our electrical appliances to avoid these incidents," he noted.

He also said statistics have shown that last month (January 2018), there were at least eleven fire cases. He, however, did not mention any report of deaths. Major Sumo meanwhile appealed to the government for more support in order for the LNFS to be more effective in responding fire incidents in the future.

The Vai Town incident, however, brought together the LNFS and the LPRC Fire Service teams, accompanied by the Liberia National Police.

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