May 20, 2009, 7:43 AM
compound of Chendu Jaw, a retired police officer residing in Old Yundum
Paradise Estate, was on Monday engulfed by fire which lasted for about four
The compound consists of three apartments and each has two rooms but the inferno, blamed on electrical fault, consumed all the apartments and everything inside including cash.
Ndey Binta Jaw, daughter to the retired officer, said the fire started when she was at home cooking Ebeh and chatting with her friend who came to keep her company in the kitchen.
And it was her friend who told her there was smell of smoke coming from somewhere; so she (Ndey Binta) left to go and see where the smoke could be coming from.
“As I opened the door of our first house, I saw a lot of dark smoke so I rushed to call my brother who was in the next house,” Ms Jaw said.
She then shouted for help and a lot of neighbours came to help her to put off the fire and before long the personnel of the Fire and Rescue Services arrived at the scene.
According to her, at the time of the incident, there was no other fire inside the house.
“So I suspect it was due to electricity failure,” she said, adding that at the time of the incident, her mother was away at Serekunda to buy some stuff for her business.
Ndey Binta’s mother, who was shedding tears whilst speaking to this reporter, said the fire incident had left them in serious problem and pain, as it has rendered them homeless and deprived.
“So many things have perished and it is very expensive to get them back,” she said. “Although I have faith in Allah it is very serious at this point in time to lose all belongings.”
She appealed for help, saying things are very hard for her family currently.
The compound owner, Mr Jaw, said he invested all his retirement money into the construction of the compound.
Mr Jaw, a retired police officer who was responsible for regional testing in West Coast Region, said: “This is one of my saddest moments; I have never experienced this kind of the difficulty in my entire life.”
“To construct this house with three apartments was not easy,” he said. “But when the Almighty Allah has decided, nobody can change it.”
Jaw lamented that as a retired police officer with two wives and several children he needs urgent help, for it is not easy for him nowadays to get money.
The Alkalo of Old Yundum, Mamudou Faye, expressed sympathy to the affected family, saying the fire is probably due to poor electrical wiring.
He warned people to be very vigilant with fire and ensure electrical wirings are done by people with the required skills.
The alkalo called on the National Disaster Management Agency to come, assess the magnitude of the destruction and see how to support the victims.
On behalf of the family, the alkalo called on the government, NGOs, the business community, neighbours to give some support to the affected family.