Documents removed to safety from burnt GRA office

Large volumes of documents have been evacuated from the Ghana Revenue Authority head office annex along the Ring Road Central in Accra, where fire fighters battling fire that engulfed the building Sunday morning.

Raging fire swept through the top floor of the two-storey building destroying various items, mainly files and tax documentations belonging to the country’s major revenue authority.

The building, located at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and next to Busy Internet, is the Large Taxpayer Unit of the GRA in Accra.

For five hours, seven fire tenders and personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Armed Forces have been struggling to completely douse the fire that started at about 8:00 a.m. from one side of the building.

Police and some military personnel together with some GRA officials at a point entered the building to remove some documents from the building which have since been transported to the Nima Divisional Police Command to be secured.

A senior police officer explained to journalists the decision to evacuate the files and documents were in line with the police mandate to protect life and property, indicating it did so in consultation with the GRA officials.

As at 1:00 p.m., fire fighters had come managed to bring the fire situation under, but smoke kept billowing out of the building with flames from some combustible materials.

The glazing in front of the building were shattered revealing the devastation caused by the fire in the offices at the top floor. The ceiling is also ripped off.

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Deputy Interior Minister, Henry Quartey, who was at the scene told journalists it was too early to identify the cause of the fire.

“It’s too early for anybody to comment as to the reasons why the fire started… and how it could have been brought under control,” he advised.

Responding to accusations that the fire fighters failed in preventing the fire from spreading, Head of Public Relations of the GNFS, Ellis Okoe Robinson, said his men were on top of their game and cannot be blamed for anything.

He explained that as fire fighters once they arrive at a scene, they first have to access the situation to know where to start fighting the fire because the lives of the personnel are key.

Mr Robinson revealed they initially had a challenge in getting access to the building as all entry points were locked. According to him, they had to break the windows at the back of the building before gaining access to the base of the fire.

Also, he said the level of combustible materials in the building contributed to the quick spread of the fire to other parts of the offices.