Fire has ravaged part of the Ghana Highways Authority headquarters building near the Ghana National Theatre in Accra, destroying documents and other properties.
At least seven offices within the three-storey building have been affected by the fire which started around 6:00am Monday morning. Although some staff were in the building, none of them was hurt as they managed to escape.
The fire was said to have started from the Chief Executive’s office and spread to the Authority’s Registry where all documents are lodged. Almost everything in the CEO’s office and the Registry were completely burnt, our correspondents reported.
It’s still not clear what might have triggered the fire but a cleaner who spotted the fire first told TV3 he attempted to extinguish it but could not operate the fire extinguisher which was in the room because of lack of knowledge.
According to him, he thus stepped outside in an attempt to get water to douse the fire but only returned to see the fire reach the ceiling in the building, spreading to adjoining offices.
Although the personnel of the Fire Service responded to the distress call promptly, they arrived without the key equipment needed in aiding the fighting of the fire. The personnel reportedly arrived without a ladder to enable them get close to fight the fire.
Officers fighting the fire from the ground without a ladder
“The officers who arrived at the scene sprayed water from the ground to the third floor where the fire was making it difficult to fight the fire. The situation was compounded by some trees which blocked the intensity of the water before getting to the building,” our correspondents reported.
Fire tenders with ladders were subsequently brought in.
Acting Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Timothy Osafo-Affum in responding to the allegations on the ladder, said the person who made the SOS call probably didn’t explain the situation well hence the incident.
He described as unfortunate the fact that they could not operate the fire extinguisher when, noting that staff do not turn up whenever they are invited for firefighting training by the Service, and when they do, the key people are not sent; something the Highway Authority admitted.
Francis Hammond who is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Authority said the last time they had a firefighting education or training was three years ago.
One of the three fire tenders used to bring the fire under control