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She just wanted to cook something fast

Saidu Sesay, on life after a fire disaster
By Abubakarr Macarthy
27 August 2021
Saidu Sesay, Kissy Road

On 8 July 2021, I got a phone call telling me that my house at No 9, Manfred Lane was on fire. I hurried home, but by the time I reached it was too late for two of my children.

Later I learnt that my eldest child Beatrice had come home with an empty stomach. She wanted to eat desperately but [the cooking gas had run out]. So, she sent her younger brother Mohamed Bai Sesay to the fuel station to fill the Afrigas so she could make something quick to eat. He refilled the gas and brought it home, and told Beatrice that the lady [at the fuel station] said to be careful when using Afrigas.

Beatrice was so hungry she did not listen. She wanted to make very fast food. What happened? Beatrice took the Afrigas into the parlour and placed it underneath the electric bulb. When she opened it, the gas and flames went up to the electricity. As a result, the meter exploded and a fire started.

My son Mohamed was standing in the veranda at that time but when he heard the explosion, he ran into the parlour to save his sister. Beatrice and Mohamed couldn’t survive that fire. The other five children in the house managed to escape through the window.

Life has been very challenging after this accident. The months that followed passed in grief and shock. We lost two of our children. Mohamed was pursuing a degree in mass communications from Fourah Bay College… All our property was burnt and we had to relocate. I’m trying to let go of everything but it really is difficult.

Photo: Abubakarr Macarthy