February 23, 2015 By Isata Janneh
At least 14 houses in the Ascension Town community were consumed by wild fire on February 19.
The blaze was so huge that it needed the swift intervention of the National Fire Force to extinguish, but not until it had consumed 14 buildings which were interconnected in a maze of buildings in the densely populated community. Fire fighters spent hours to put out the fire.
Over one hundred residents, including women and children, were rendered homeless as a result of the accident.
The circumstance leading to the blaze is yet unknown, but a good number of community members are pointing accusing fingers at one Frederick Mattia, caretaker of the sprawling compound.
According to one Luwisa Bobb, Mattia allegedly came home drunk on the night of the blaze and the fire is suspected to have started from his apartment.
However, Mattia denied the allegation, claiming it was inspired by jealousy.
“I was dead asleep when I heard people shouting ‘fire, fire! It was at that moment I noticed that the fire was advancing towards me. I jumped through the window from my bed but unfortunately the situation went out of hands completely. Since I was asked to take care of this compound, a good number of people have grown jealous of my input towards the development process of this community,” Mattia said.
But another neighbour, John Turay, corroborated claims that Mattia was in the habit of using candle in his room, which according to him could have caused the inferno.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Yahah Baldeh lamented that occupants of the 14 houses were unable to remove their properties.
“We are homeless. We do not have any where to go. We are asking humanitarian organizations and the government to give us support. This is an unfortunate development especially when things are difficult with us,” Turay appealed.