Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 November 2021:
There have been an alarming rise in the number of properties going up in smoke in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown in the last few months, with the most disastrous Wellington fuel tanker explosion which took the lives of over one hundred people and many also in critical condition in hospital, still fresh in people’s minds.
Last week, there were reports of at least three fires engulfing properties across the city which are being investigated by police and fire authorities.
Last Friday, the country’s national disaster agency put out this statement, expressing serious concern:
“The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) has noted with great concern the sporadic fire outbreaks within the Freetown Municipality, which have left at least one dead and destroyed properties worth millions of Leones.
“Reports of about seven (7) fire incidents between the 15th and 19th November 2021 have been made to the NDMA. The affected areas are Aberdeen Creek, Ranger Street, Turay Drive – Juba Hills, Government Wharf, Janet Lane – Kingtom, Culvert Community – Kissy, and Kissy Dockyard respectively. These fire outbreaks hover mainly around dwelling houses within Freetown.
“The National Disaster Management Agency through its Directorate of Risk Reduction and Preparedness and Relief and Response, in partnership with the National Fire Force (NFF) arrived at the various scenes on time to put out the fire.
“The staff of the NDMA have been on the ground throughout the week conducting assessments on the fire outbreaks which have affected 100s of people and determining the level of response. An initial assessment has so far revealed that improper electricity connections are primarily responsible for random fire outbreaks.
“Consequently, the NDMA has summoned a high-level stakeholders’ meeting on Monday 22nd November 2021 with the Freetown City Council, the National Fire Force, Guma Valley Water Company, Office of National Security, Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Sierra Leone Police, Ministry of Lands, and Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) to devise strategies on community safety engagement, building regulations, water and extinguishing supplies, fire investigation and training for effective prevention and response.
“The National Disaster Management Agency is therefore admonishing all citizens to regularly switch off their electrical appliances before going to bed or when leaving their homes. Citizens are also advised to always hire the services of qualified electricians to do their electrical installations and not to illegally connect more people to one meter. “