By Pinket A. Scott (intern UMU)
Fire early yesterday morning claimed the lives of eight persons, including an entire family in an apartment on Carey and Gurley streets.
The victims of the fire incident are identified as Isaa, Haji, Ousman,Tarlue, Aminata and Amed Sow while Habib Sheriff, his wife and son were the only survivors . Another family known as Aminata Tulay and Ma-Satu Tulay, all died as the result of electrical fault.
According to family sources and other eyewitnesses, the fire started at 1 a.m. yesterday and there was nobody around at that time to help the victims out due to the curfew and the heavy rainfall at the time.
An unusual explosive sound alerted the attention of the neighbors and when they looked through their windows they later noticed that it was fire burning their next-door apartment.
They then called the firefighters but when they arrived there were some difficulties reaching the top floor of the three-floor building where the fire was.
The difficulty was due to the many locked iron gates that were erected to prevent criminals from reaching the various apartments leading to the last floor of the building.
Before firefighters could make any effort to make their way in the building, it was too late to help the two families.
Many sympathizers who went to the scene after the curfew time expressed sorrow for the victims who were all Fulanis.
Others described the death of the two families as unfortunate noting that if the iron gates were not as many as they were, the people would not have died while other people blamed the many criminals for the death of those Fulani.
At about 10 a.m. yesterday, with the supervision of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Homicide Division, the eight bodies were removed by the Fulani community for burial in accordance with Islamic practices.
Although there has been no word from the Police or the National Fire Service relative to the cause of the fire, eyewitnesses intimated yesterday that it might have been due to electrical shock.
Eyewitnesses also intimated that the head of the Sow family who was also killed in the fire was a diamond dealer who had just brought to Liberia his young son last Sunday from Dubai to spend some time with him and the family. Unfortunately the young son also died in the fire.
A resident of the area also informed the INQUIRER that another lady who was in the next apartment jumped from the building along with her baby. The residents said the woman broke her two legs in the process while her baby sustained some injuries. Reports also have it that the woman and baby are receiving treatment at a local hospital but the information could not be independently confirmed.
Meanwhile, Fula businesses in Monrovia yesterday observed a day of mourning by closing down their businesses, for the death of their fellow citizens.