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Liberian President Unharmed After Presidential Mansion Catches Fire


Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has escaped unhurt from a fire at the presidential mansion in the capital, Monrovia.

A VOA reporter on the scene, Frank Sainworla, says Mrs. Sirleaf had just entered the building with the presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone when the fire was detected Wednesday.

He says the presidents were quickly escorted outside and that none of them were harmed. The three leaders were visiting Liberia for the country's independence day celebration.

The blaze sent up plumes of black smoke but appeared to subside by late afternoon. Firefighters say the fire burned the mansion's fourth floor, where Mrs. Sirleaf's office is located.

Authorities have not speculated on the cause of the fire.

Earlier, electricity was turned on to parts of Monrovia for the first time since the end of the country's 14-year civil war. However, the mansion was not among the areas linked up to the new electricity grid.

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