Intense fighting in Sirte
02:32 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Moammar Gadhafi's house had ornate furnishings and a salon with barber chairs

Gadhafi loyalists are still putting up a fight in the deposed leader's hometown

Sirte is largely deserted after a month of fighting

Libya's new leadership is waiting for Sirte to fall to declare liberation

Sirte, Libya CNN  — 

On the outskirts of Sirte, a mansion with a columned facade lies in ruins, though its opulence is still evident under shattered glass and chunks of concrete. This was Moammar Gadhafi’s home in the city of his birth.

The house had its own salon with barber chairs and massage tables. Ornate four-poster beds furnished the bedrooms and there were lavish decorations all around.

In the basement is a large conference room. Is this where Gadhafi planned his last stand or arranged for his escape?

The deposed leader has not been seen in public for months. His whereabouts are unknown but some believe he may still be hiding in Sirte.

People wandering through the house are stunned. They thought Gadhafi lived in a tent.

Most residents have abandoned Sirte after a month of fierce battles. Revolutionary forces have fought Gadhafi loyalists street by street, cornering the last vestiges of the old regime to one district. With their backs to the Mediterranean, the loyalists used machine gun nests and snipers atop buildings to fight back Friday.

The sound of rockets and artillery pierced the air; smoke billowed over the skyline.

Time and time again, the revolutionaries have come to the brink of victory. But they have not been able to claim it yet.

Until they do, the National Transitional Council will not declare liberation in Libya. Taking control of Gadhafi’s hometown is key to moving forward in building a new nation.

Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF or in English, Doctors Without Borders) said some of Sirte’s residents remain trapped in the fighting. The medical charity said it has been able to work at the Ibn Sina hospital. from where the International Committee of the Red Cross is evacuating patients to Tripoli.

The 50 remaining patients are mostly people who have suffered violent trauma, severe burns and fractures, according to MSF. Almost all patients need daily dressing and immediate medical care. There are also some pregnant women in the hospital.

There is no water supply in the hospital and one of four operating theaters has been shelled, MSF said. The medical staff has been working around the clock and are showing signs of exhaustion and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Outside, a rag-tag army marches into battle again, many of the men strangely nonchalant as they stroll to the fight. Friday, the transitional council fighters were forced to retreat. They will regroup and push again, hoping for a highly anticipated victory.

CNN’s Dan Rivers and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.