The Post (Buea)
12 May 2008
Posted to the web 12 May 2008
About 20 inhabitants of Street Four, Great Soppo, Buea, have been rendered homeless by a fire disaster that occurred in the early hours of Thursday, May 8.
The inferno reportedly started at about 8 am after a heavy downpour, which saw frequent power cuts by AES SONEL. The fire completely consumed a plank building, accommodating about five families, within 10 minutes.
The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained, however, many of the victims attribute the cause to the intermittent power cuts that morning. According to them, when the current was on and off, it caused a spark on the electricity meter that was attached on a board, which ignited the flames. The fire reportedly caught the plank building and rose to the roof.
Were it not of the timely intervention of some volunteers, who probed into the scene and shattered the roofs of the neighbouring houses that flanked the blazing one, all the houses around that area could have been razed down.
One of the victims, Esther Lari, who lost all her belongings, told The Post that she was at her business place that morning, and was alerted by a distress call, only to meet the ruins of her entire household. She said she lost everything including FCFA 130,000.
“I am a mother of four, and right now, I have lost everything including money. Two of my children are prospective candidates for this year’s GCE examination and they have lost all of their books,” said Lari.
Another victim, Elsie Ojong, a petty trader, lamented the lost of her life investments. She said they had lived in that apartment for more than 20 years. She cursed AES SONEL for being the cause of their predicaments.
Meanwhile, Christine Abie Ndie, who suffered minor casualties, given that only part of her apartment, the roof and windows were affected, estimated the entire repercussion to about FCFA 20 million.
It should be recalled that this is about the fifth fire incidence that has occurred in Great Soppo, in recent times.The people of Buea and its environs are continuously begging the powers that be to set up a fire brigade in Buea, and why not the chief towns of all the provinces. They are also calling on the municipal authority to come to their aid through a council solidarity fund.