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Susan’s Bay fire leaves 15 homeless

As alleged culprit seeks police protection…

By Matthew Jabby

A fire which broke out at Susan’s Bay, a poor slum area east of Freetown, last Friday, left 15 people homeless and property worth millions of Leones destroyed.

Eyewitnesses say the fire was caused by one Haja Kanu who was cooking with a locally made stove in her veranda.

Abdul Tarawalli, one of the residents, said the house had seven apartments occupied by various households, and that Haja had been cautioned on many occasions not to cook in her veranda but she would not listen.

He said the fire came from Haja’s apartment and by the time they could summon help from neighbours the fire had overwhelmed the entire building.

Another tenant, Olaimatu Bangura, also blamed Haja for her negligence in causing the fire, and that they had brought the issue to the attention of the landlord, Alpha Turay, but he failed to take any action.

Whilst local youth were busy extinguishing the fire, using crude means, an AK 58 gun, belonging to one Sergeant Baimba Turay, a police officer, was retrieved from the debris. He was not present when the accident occurred and it remains unclear why he kept the gun at home, although such is not uncommon by paramilitary police officers.

Meanwhile, the lady accused of causing the fire, Haja Kanu had to seek shelter at the Susan’s Bay police station for fear of reprisals from incensed tenants who may have lost their entire belongings. She however expressed remorse for the incident, as it was a mere accident.

Inspector A.B. Samura, attached to the Susan’s Bay police post, said the alleged culprit was briefly detained for her protection but the matter has been transferred to the Central police station for investigation.

According to Crime Officer at the Criminal Investigation Department at the Central Police Division, Tommy Bangahun Zizer, Haja Kanu could be charged for arson.