…. “When we heard the noise in the early hours, we thought armed robbers had visited them,” a witness said. But when we came out, we saw fire, which burned the entire house, and it became difficult to get them out of the house because the fire was at the entrance of the door.”
The bodies of a grandmother and four others have been found inside the wreckage of their home in New Georgia, Caldwell Township.
The tragic death came as a result of an 11pm ferocious fire outbreak which rapidly spread and left little room for the deceased to react quickly — trapping them within their own house except for two teenagers who had managed to escape.
Police in Caldwell have confirmed that Sue Togba, 61; Dehfeuh Togba, 28; Shakira Doe, 16; Vanesa, 2; and Irene Togba died in the blaze.
Sue, the head of the household, along with the other deceased, according to witnesses, have since been buried as their bodies were burnt beyond recognition. It was a painstaking exercise by a forensic team from the police to recover the bodies for burial. The older deceased was also the mother of the late Angel Togba, who allegedly died by suicide in 2009 after being abused by her guardian, who was later convicted for his crime but later freed by the Supreme Court.
An account by eyewitnesses and one of the survivors report that the fire, which reportedly began in the living room at approximately 11 PM, quickly engulfed the house in flames and the speed made it nearly impossible for the neighbors who came to contain the blaze to help.
“When we heard the noise in the early hours, we thought arm robbers had visited them,” the witness said. But when we came out, we saw fire, which burned the entire house, and it became difficult to get them out of the house because the fire was at the entrance of the door.”
According to some residents, the deaths of the Togba’s family were very saddening.
“So this fire is very difficult to detect; whether LEC and other appliances in the room were the cause of the fire is hard to say,” Musu noted with tears.
Another eyewitness to the event, Moses Mulbah, said he was in his house when he heard the victims shouting for help, but upon his arrival, the entire house was already gutted by the fire.
“I was in my bedroom when I heard them crying for help, but upon my arrival at the scene, the entire house was already on fire. There was nobody who would quench the fire, because it was really blazing,” he asserted.
Besides the loss of lives, valuable items worth thousands of dollars were completely destroyed by the fire.
Wellington Glidden, another resident of the township, urged the bereaved family and the entire congregation of the Church of Christ, where the late mother Togba used to worship, to take heart and be strong because it already happened and there is nothing they can do to bring the deceased family back to life.
Glidden described the death of his church members as unfortunate and a great loss to them and the family.
“Normally, I am the worship leader, and after service, we can call for testimony, so she came up yesterday to give her testimony that each time good things are about to happen for her, it can turn around,” he said.
“Besides, in service yesterday, Mrs. Togba thanked God [that] the children that she reared are all good people; some of them are now college graduates, some with master’s degrees, and others are following suit.
“Another thing she said in her testimony,” Glidden said, “was that her school is doing well in terms of enrollment and that she was praying to get instructors to help her run the school. Unfortunately, last night I received a call from our pastor that the entire family, who were in service yesterday, left in the fire.”
Reacting to the tragedy, Montserrado County District #15 Representative Abu Bana Kamara said the death was disheartening and painful, while urging the family to accept the incident as an act destined by God.
“We are so sad. The whole community and the district are bereaved. We hope and pray that better mechanisms will be put in place for future eventualities because every one of us here does not know what happened. Everybody is speculating, so the requisite authorities will come and do what is required,” he said.
Kamara also prayed to God to grant the family the formidable fortitude to bear the losses.
Speaking, shortly, Henry O. Williams, Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), who immediately visited the scene to sympathize with the family, described the tragedy as very pathetic.
“We are here to tell the family and to tell all residents in the area that we are concerned. This is why we are here.” He said. “And since I’m here, the government is officially aware of the situation, and we dealt with it immediately. We are consoling, we’re sympathizing with the family, and we hope that the two groups will work together and put things together.”
According to him, from the NDMA’s point of view, this is just the first point of contact, but he promised to revisit the bereaved family from the government angle.
“We’ll soon be here to see what the government will do for the family. We want to sympathize again with the family and to tell you never mind, but we are here and we will come back,” Williams asserted.
Meanwhile, the scene of the tragedy was visited by the vice standard bearer of the Liberia National Union (LNU), Madam Grace Kpaan, and other well-meaning citizens of the Township of Caldwell.
Source: Liberian Observer