Faulty Electricity Connections Leave Several Homeless, Residents Blame LEC


Paynesville – Some residents of Paynesville City have expressed grave concerns about “poor electricity regulation” by the Liberia Electricity Corporation.

Report By: Willie N. Tokpah /[email protected]

Just within two days after the Christmas holiday, fire gutted a three-bedroom apartment in the Kpelleh Town Community, while two other apartments were also consumed by fire in the 72nd Barrack Community in Paynesville City.

The fire incidents occurred on Friday, December 28, 2018, during the early morning hours at about 12:30am, and another at 4 p.m., victims told FrontPage Africa.

Affected occupants have attributed the incident to electrical fault, which they blamed on the LEC.

The occupants, who spoke with FrontPage Africa in separate interviews, accussed power company of failing to regulate the supply of power supply to its targeted customers, thereby causing shock.

No one was reported dead or injured during the fire outbreaks. Occupants, however, said all of their belongings, including money and important documents, were destroyed by the fire.

Ezra Keller and his family had to seek refuge in distress at his brother’s home when his three-bedroom apartment in Kpelleh Town was destroyed by fire.

In a depressed mood, Keller explained how the incident came as a shock because he has never experienced a problem of such before.

“I never expected but only for this morning, when I was in bed, for me to be alarmed that there was fire on the house. When I got up the fire had spread in the ceiling, immediately, I told the girls children who were in the room to evacuate,” Mr. Keller said.

“All attempts to go and bring the breaker down, was not possible, because the fire was all over. That night, electricity came and went back then, later came back with more force that led to what happened. We were about nine in the house and it was only by the grace of God that all of us are alive, because it was in the night and we were already in bed.

“We did not take anything from the house and when I came back in the morning to see what I can get, the whole house was like a football field,” he said.

Currently, Mr. Keller said his family is displaced in the Du-port Road as he complains that government and other relevant agencies are yet to come to his aid.

How to rebuild the life of his family remains a major concern, noting that all he worked for was destroyed by the fire accident.

In the 72nd Barrack Community, Joe Guannue,an eldest of a family affected by the fire incident, causing the destruction of their two apartment, noted that the situation has created a setback for his family. His mother who is a marketer in Red-light Market, lost all her savings in the fire.

He claims it was the negligence of his next-door neighbors for not raising alarm early when the fire started.

“We were witnessing show in our house when we heard the noise outside and when we got out; fire was already taking over our house,” he said. “We were only three at the house that night because all the others had gone to Nimba for the break.”

“The fire started from our neighbor’s home, but they did not come to alert us but were only shouting outside, but later I asked them how the fire came, and they said it was high voltage,” Mr. Guannue said.

“We only took three chairs from the house, but everything in the house got burnt. My brother was doing ‘Susu’ business and the money he had for people all left in the house and burnt. He is on his way coming to town and crying as we speak. The entire document we had in the house burnt and this is the first time we have experienced this current situation like this since Ellen time.

“We are just calling on government to come to our aid to help us rebuild our house because we don’t have any money now to build house. We are currently sleeping in our neighbors’ porch,” Mr. Guannue added.

For her part, Victoria Clinton said her parents were not home that the night of the fire incident, but noted that electricity supply was unstable prior to the incident.

“The situation is still surprising to me because I was washing behind the house when I saw the fire on the house. Current came and left but later it came with force but I was still washing that evening,” little Victoria averred in a shrieking tone.

“We are five living in this apartment; but only I and my sister were home, but she was sleeping when the fire caught the house, so I shouted with her name to leave the house.

At the same time, residents of Neezoe Community went in disarray on Sunday evening December 30, 2018 at about 9:00 pm when fire gutted a pole hosting the LEC transmitter responsible to supply in the area.

No one was able to state how the fire gutted the pole, but some residents attribute it to poor maintenance of the transformer.

“LEC needs to put serious regulation in place to address this fire situation because sometimes electricity supply is not stable and most of the time it comes with high voltage and sometimes low,” said Johnson Birble, a resident of the area.

“Another thing they need to be serious about is to put in place mechanism to stop power theft in Neezoe Community, because it’s getting serious. LEC workers can come and notice this but they cannot do anything about it so, those who have LEC legitimately suffer from low supply,” Philip Smith, another resident added.

Meanwhile, Liberia’s Disaster Management Agency Deputy Director for Operation Augustine F. Tamba informed FrontPageAfrica that the situation was an accident and not a disaster and as such it would be impossible for the agency to come in.

“One or two houses is an accident and not a disaster, if they were five, then the Disaster Management Agency could come in,” Tamba told FrontPage Africa in a cell phone conversation when contacted about the situation.