Edna, our house helper was the first to notice the smoke coming up from the neighbor’s house. She alerted our day guard Emmanuel, who went next door to investigate. The fire started in a cook house which is made of wood. It also reached the next room, a single small room rented by a student. Many of his belongings were saved, but he did lose important documents.
The neighbors had used their precious buckets of water (apparently they do not have city water hooked up to their house), and our garden hose reached over the wall into their compound. So Emmanuel helped them put the fire out with our garden hose, peeling back pieces of metal roofing to get water into the rooms from above.
Thankfully, they were able to put the fire out before flames reached to our compound. The duplex behind our house is just a few feet from the burning structure. Also thankfully, no one was in the building, so no one was hurt.
Later, all they asked for was more water to replace the buckets they’d used to put the fire out, and in exchange they let me take some pictures. I stayed until discussion of how the fire started got .. heated (pardon the pun). Some say children had been cooking beans over an open fire on the wood floor; others, seeing the bulk of fire damage high on the wall and ceiling argued it was started by faulty wiring. Who knows? The fire dept. arrived after it was put out and didn’t do an investigation.