Local Charity’s Office Gutted by Fire

KAKATA, Margibi – A four-bedroom structure used as head offices of a local Christian health charity group, Healthy Women Healthy Liberia, was gutted by fire last Saturday morning, leaving several assorted items and the building in ashes.

The fire destroyed the entire roof of the building as well other items, including huge quantities of medical drugs, documents, some personal belongings, as well US$5,000 cash that was kept in the house, according to representatives of the organization.

Residents of the Miss Moore community in Kakata awoke to the noise of a community resident shouting when the building was in flames. Their early efforts to tame the fire were ineffective due to the iron gate of the fence being locked. The fence’s high wall also made it difficult to jump over, residents said.

According to the police, no one was in the house as Chris Hena, the Liberian missionary who heads the organization had reportedly gone to Monrovia and the girls who stayed with her in the facility were asked to sleep elsewhere.

The police are still trying to investigate the source of the fire. There was no electricity supply to the building at the time of the fire and electricity related causes such as faults are being ruled out. Additionally, the police said the barbed wires on top of the fence are still intact and it is unlikely that someone climbed over the walls to start the fire.

Speaking to reporters, a member of the organization’s board of directors, Theophilus Kollie, suggested that the burning of the facility was an arson attack.

He told reporters that community members reported seeing two unknown men around the fence shortly before the house was gutted by the fire.

Theophilus Kollie, a member of Healthy Women Board of Directors. Photo: Emmanuel Degleh

Theophilus Kollie, a member of Healthy Women Board of Directors. Photo: Emmanuel Degleh

Kollie expressed his disappointment at such actions against a charity group that offers free medical services to people, especially women and children, who can hardly afford to pay their medical bills.

“We don’t want power, we don’t want money, we just love our country – that’s why we are here, this is just not arson, it was a pre-calculated attempt to kill and destroy,” he said.

Despite the unfortunate event, Kollie said his organization would continue to operate, including mobilizing resources to run the Waterfield Primary Health Care Center, a US$500,000 facility that is dedicated to offering free medical services to women and children health.

Featured photo by Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel Degleh

Emmanuel has over a decade of experience working as a community radio broadcaster. He is the Margibi correspondent for the Liberia Broadcasting System and currently the acting president of the Margibi Journalist Association. Emmanuel is also a member of the Press Union of Liberia and a 2016 Internews Health Journalism Fellow.

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