Fire Ruins Liberia International Hotel

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Paynesville – A major blaze on the RLJ Resort and Villa raged into early Sunday morning, leaving the entire power and water components of the hotel destroyed, eyewitnesses say.

The cause of the fire is unknown, while FrontPage Africa cannot independently verify the extent of the damage on the hotel facility, which is located in Kendeja community of Paynesville outside Monrovia. 

When a FPA reporter sought response from the management, they denied the reporter access to the facility and also rejected his inquiries. 

According to residents of the community where the hotel is located, structures housing the power and water sources of the hotel gutted fire around 1:00 Am.

Customers of the five-star hotel were all seen panicking as some fled toward the beach and other parts of the community, eyewitnesses said.

One of the eyewitnesses, Tarnue Zawu whose house is few meters away from to the hotel’s powerhouse, said he worried about the safety of his home when the flame of the fire heightened.

“The fire, actually I don’t know the exact time but I got up around 1: 15 am and saw the fire, I was confused and all my attention was on removing my things from the house,” he said.

Zawu and several other residents place several calls to the Liberia National Fire Service hotline but the number was off.

“It is was frustrating this morning because I called the Fire Service hotline myself around 1:30am and their numbers were off. Lately around 2:45 to 3 am before they arrived. They need to come fast when they are called. But I am asking government to build Fire service station in every district,” he said.

When the firefighters arrived on the scene, eyewitnesses say, they struggled to prevent the fire from further spreading. By then, the powerhouse and water reservoir had already collapsed, prompting the management to relocate guests and customers to other hotels. 

Another Eyewitness, Claudius Seth told FrontPageAfrica that the fire was quick to spread, raging from the powerhouse to the water tower. 

Seth said some of the hotel staff told him that the used the fire extinguishers could not ease the fire.

“I got up around 1 am and saw the fire on the fence and later climbing up the tower there. I spoke to someone from RLJ and the person told me that they used the fire-extinguishers but it couldn’t prevent the fire from spreading,” he said.

FPA gathered that when the hotel management phoned the Fire Service, all the hotline numbers were off. One eyewitness said that a staff of the hotel drove to the Fire service station before firefighters were brought to quench the fire.

“I saw the manager going to the station before the Fire Service car came late around 2 am,” Seth said.

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