Fire damages ELWA campus roof and machines

By Debbie Sacra | Liberia in West Africa

Fire damage to exterior of ELWA campus powerhouse

A fire broke out in the ELWA campus powerhouse of SIM Liberia on Friday, Nov 5 at 11pm. It was concentrated in one corner of the generator house, spreading up the wall to the roof, which suffered the most damage. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and the fuel tanks did not catch fire or explode.

Assistance from the Paynesville Fire Service was critical to containing the fire. As a result, the control room of the powerhouse was undamaged, along with one of the two operational generators. The ELWA Technical Services staff worked from dawn until dark the following day to make repairs and get ELWA Hospital and ELWA Radio back on-line. Generator power was restored at about 6pm on Saturday.

Inside building before fire.

ELWA powerhouse interior damage.

Since March 2021, ELWA Ministries has depended on the Liberian Electric Company (LEC) for most of its power needs. A malfunction in the hookup with the public utility on the ELWA site on Thursday required the use of ELWA’s backup generator. LEC promptly responded to the situation on Saturday and made repairs to the interface, so that LEC power would be restored.

ELWA Ministries must maintain at least two backup generators to be able to supply the hospital, radio station, and residences when LEC is not available. Having only one functional backup generator puts the hospital and radio at risk of being shut down in case of failure. Overhauling at least one of the two generators in the powerhouse is now urgently needed, at an expected cost of $50,000 (USD).

In addition, the roof and rafters of the building must be replaced immediately to ensure protection from the weather and safety in the building. The integrity of the wall that was burned will also be assessed. Approximately $25,000 will be needed to rebuild the roof and make other repairs.

Building before fire.

ELWA powerhouse before fire.

The powerhouse building at ELWA has been in nearly continuous use since 1959. It houses four engine-generator sets, only two of which were operational at the time of the fire. Knowing a new facility is needed, SIM-Liberia and ELWA Ministries recently drew up plans for a safer and more modern building, including capacity to integrate solar power in the future.

If you can contribute toward these repairs at ELWA, please visit our donation portal, select the office nearest you, and use project 95348 (ELWA Services Campus Upgrade project).

Pray with us

Please pray for the ELWA hospital staff and SIM Liberia team as they navigate the aftermath of the fire. Pray equipment can be replaced quickly and that God provides the funds to recover from this incident.

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

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