Investigators from the National Fire Service have since been dispatched to the scene in order to determine the cause of the outbreak.
However, the government in a press release said it is deeply troubled by allegations contained in a press release from the UP alleging that the government sponsored the incident. The party in the release said the government hired thugs to commit arson.
Information Minister Ledgerhood Julius Rennie calls the claim unfair and irresponsible, bearing no element of truth. He said the Administration of President George Manneh Weah is not in the business of physically attacking its political opponents. "What do we stand to benefit from the action", the Minister retorted.
He said President Weah is a man of peace who ascribes to the democratic process, respect for human rights, and the rule of law; and is running a responsible government that does not engage in acts of gangsterism.
The government, the Minister said, empathizes with the victim, Rev. Tarpeh, who himself told journalists that he does not yet fully understand what led to the fire outbreak. However, contrary to the UP Chairman's statement, its Secretary General, Amos Tweh, had already sweepingly accused the government of committing the unfortunate act even before the arrival on the scene of investigators from the Liberia National Fire Service and the Liberia National Police. Tweh's remarks were disappointingly contained in the party's release.
‘‘The government wishes to emphasize that it has an internationally acclaimed democratic record, while also being led by an icon of peace, and will do nothing to taint its reputation. It's high time political actors refrain from incendiary rhetoric that could undermine the country's hard-earned peace, as we move to General and Presidential elections next year.
These creeping and unwarranted acts of provocation and bellicose political maneuverings will not distract the government from the course of development meant to improve the livelihood of ordinary Liberians,’’ the government in the press release pointed out.
The government asserted that it is only interested in solidifying the country's peace and building upon its democratic gains, and therefore, called on all political parties, their cohorts, and supporters to join in this national endeavor.
In recent years the government has been engaged in efforts to augment the capacity of the Liberia National Fire Service as it grapples with frequent fire disasters around the country, which have been caused by a myriad of reasons. The government, therefore, urged the Tarpeh family and the Unity Party to remain calm while authorities determine the actual cause of Friday's fire.
Meanwhile, the victim of the fire incident has said he suspects a foul play.
In an interview with reporters, Mr. Tarpeh explained that the fire started by 1:00 Am Friday morning from the garage where he had his diesel vehicle parked. He said the power supply to the home was from a solar panel source.
According to him, for over two months, he and community members have not had power supply from the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).
Mr. Tarpeh was recently elected as Chairman of the UP at the party’s recently held national convention in Gbarnga, Bong County.
His home is few blocks away from the Rehab Residence of President George Manneh Weah, and that of his party’s standard bearer Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai.
He asserted that all efforts to get the National Fire service to intervene didn’t materialize as they were told the trucks were out of fuel, and when they offered to provide fuel, he said they were told that the engines could not start and there was no water.
“We called the fire service and we were told no gas. At some point when we decided to provide fuel, they told us no water and the engine couldn’t start. It’s unfortunate that our tax payer’s money is paying them but they cannot provide the service needed,” averred the UP Chairman.
He also told reporters that there was no casualties as seven of the eight inhabitants escaped and only one got hurt.