BEIRUT — The Consulate of Sierra Leone expressed in a statement Sunday its sorrow over the deaths of five Sierra Leonean women in a fire that broke out in their building in the Metn on Saturday. Two others who were critically injured in the blaze are are receiving treatment in hospital, the state-run National News Agency reported.
The fire erupted in a residential building in Sid al-Bouchrieh, in the Metn on the outskirts of Beirut.
The building owner, Dr. Paul Rabil, had initially told L'Orient-Le Jour that the tenants were all Nigerian nationals and had moved there in the last six months.
“The consulate has received more than one account of the reasons behind the accident, at a time when the relevant Lebanese authorities are continuing their investigations in this regard, and therefore the consulate, along with the Sierra Leonean government, is following up and awaiting the results of the official Lebanese investigation to build on what is required,” the statement said.
While the cause of the incident remains unknown, several accounts of what transpired indicate that it took place after a dispute between tenants.
The mayor of Jdeideh municipality, Antoine Gebara, claimed that "an argument broke out between the tenants of an apartment, probably drunk, and degenerated into violence," which led to the fire.