The European Union Delegation and the Heads of Mission of France, Germany, Ireland and Sweden in Monrovia say they are deeply saddened by the tragic fire which killed at least 28 people, including many children in the Bassa Town Quranic Recitation Center in Paynesville early Wednesday morning, 18 September.
"We are deeply saddened to have learnt of the tragic fire which occurred in the Bassa Town Quranic Recitation Center in the early hours of Wednesday in the Bassa Community in Paynesville in which at least 28 people, including many children, died," the Foreign Missions said in a statement Thursday, 19 September.
"At this difficult time, we wish to express our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, to the Islamic Community of Paynesville, and to the people of Liberia. We also wish a swift recovery to those who have been injured."Raging fire dreadfully consumed at least 28 persons most of them students at an Islamic dormitory in Bassa Town Community in Paynesville where kids go to recite the Quran.
Redlight, Paynesville was a scene of sorrow and tears on account of the tragedy as community dwellers struggled unsuccessfully to rescue at least 28 dying kids who could not stop screaming for help through hot iron bar windows until they were finally consumed painfully by fire.
Eyewitnesses who rushed to the scene explained that kids inside the blazing Quran Memory Institute facility screamed through the windows of the dormitory, seeking help at about 12 a.m. on Wednesday.
Efforts to get the victims out were undermined because they would tragically come in contact with hot iron bars that are installed at the widows and then run back inside the building in fire.At least two kids were rescued, but there are reports that the lady who rescued them reportedly died when she returned inside the building to get additional kids out.
Hundreds of residents from Bassa Town Community and its environs, including women, men, children, bike riders, taxi drivers and marketers gathered in mass at the incident scene on Wednesday.They could not hold back their tears as everyone had their own narrative of the incident.Following the incident, President George Manneh Weah visited the scene early Wednesday morning, encouraging families of the victims "to have strength" as he describes the death of the "28 kids" as a disaster."It's painful, it's hurtful! So there's not much we can say but to extend our sympathy to the bereaved families," he told reporters in an interview.
"We will do all our best to make sure that they establish what happened and then whatever assistance the government can render the family, we will be there," he said.A lady identified as Massa Kromah who claimed to be a relative to the caretaker of the school, FatuJalloh narrated that the students were all males, aged seven years and above.The caretaker of the dormitory FatuJalloh could not speak immediately due to the trauma caused by the incident.
However, Massa narrated that the building had eight rooms, but only the front door was accessible to the students due to constant attacks by criminals in the community.She said in the building were over 30 students, including a teacher who was also sleeping in the building with them.However, Massa detailed that the teacher and the Imam's wife who tried saving the children died along with the victims.The Imam's wife is said to have saved the first two kids and then returned in the building, but she never survived this time around.The cause of the fire is not yet known.