KARAWA, DR CONGO (October 18, 2013) — A fire that damaged part of the house used by Covenant missionaries Paul and Sheryl Noren would have destroyed the structure if not for the efforts of local residents who used sand and basins carrying water from a local well.
No one was injured. The Norens are currently in the United States.
Covenant missionaries David and Debbie Williams live next door. “Women showed up to carry basin after basin of water from the Williamses’ cistern to the Norens’ house,” said missionary Keith Gustafson, who serves as country coordinator for the Covenant’s work in DR Congo.
A pile of leftover sand from a cement project also was used to help smother the fire, Gustafson said. “This is the first fire I’ve seen in a mission home since we arrived here in 1985. With limited fire fighting resources, it was amazing that the house was saved.”
Gustafson said, “The house has smoke damage, but the burn damage is in the kitchen and on the attic and on the roof above the kitchen. It will take work, but it is do-able.”
The Williamses reported that it was miraculous no one was hurt. A refrigerator powered by kerosene exploded just a second after everyone stepped away from the nearby back door.
Before the fire, the house was being prepared for engineers who are traveling here to evaluate the conditions of power lines stretching the seven miles from the Zulu Dam to the hospital here.
The dam, which was damaged during the nation’s civil war, was repaired in recent years, but worn cables have prevented the power from reaching the hospital.