By Rohey Jadama and Sailu Bah
A fatal fire incident on Saturday night, 24 January, claimed the lives of four kids in a compound behind Latrikunda Upper Basic School which is few metres off the Kairaba Avenue in the Kanifing Municipality.
The four victims are Alex Jatta, 16 years and a grade 9 student at St. Therese’s Lower Basic School, Sophie Jatta, 5 years is in nursery school, Clordy Senghore, 12 years, and Arret Sarr, 5 years old . The first two are said to be from the same parents, while the rest are their cousins who came from Banjul for a weekend.
According to one Modou Lamin Njie, an eyewitness who is also the study teacher for Alex and Sophie said the fire was caused by a candle light and it started around 11pm when the children were already asleep. He said there was no electricity at the time of the fire outbreak.
Mr. Njie said the fire was so intense and that the 4 children died before they could break the door open to get access into the house, adding that everything inside was consumed by the inferno.
He added that the Fire and Rescue Service arrived when the neighbours had almost extinguished the fire.
Alfred Jatta, the father of Alex and Sophie, who was found in the compound at the time, appeared devastated and was dumbfounded. His wife and mother of the two, Anna Marie Senghore, was said to be at the mortuary waiting for the police to hand over the corpses to the family.
The compound was filled with many people, including relatives, neighbours and friends who came to symphatise with the grieving family. Many of those who inspected the burnt house could not hold back their tears.
One Mr. Sillah, another neighbour, described the incident as very sad and a great loss, as these were promising kids. He said he knows both Alex and Sophie as very friendly and amiable children.