Minister suspects arson in medical stores inferno
Mr Mark Woyongo, Minister of the Interior, says he would not rule out arson and sabotage in the Central Medical Stores fire which occurred on Tuesday, January 13.
Mr Woyongo, who visited the fire scene on Wednesday, said at this point “I can’t rule out sabotage, arson and anything”.
He has therefore charged Ghana Police Service to collaborate with Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to investigate and come out with a comprehensive report by Friday, January 16, on the cause of the fire and whether there was a relation between the cause and the place where rubbish was allegedly being burnt at the time of the fire outbreak.
The Minister called for the installation of closed-circuit television cameras at all sensitive government installations to deter evil minded people from carrying out their nefarious activities.
He impressed on managements of such installations to ensure that the needed fire extinguishers are provided to help reduce the occurrence of such devastating fires to national assets.
Mr Woyongo said the presence of the Police and fire personnel at these places could not be over emphasised.
He added that there is the need for continuous equipping of GNFS to help the personnel put under control such fires, saying that if resources are available, the service must even get a fire helicopter.
He indicated that it is his expectation that every metropolis, municipality and district would have a fire tender.
The Minister of the Interior after touring the scourged site, told media personnel that he observed staff of the Central Medical Stores have lumped together highly inflammable and low inflammable materials together.
He therefore advised that in future such items must be separated noting that if that had been done, some of the items would have been salvaged.
Mr Woyongo expressed gratitude to private organisations especially water tankers who provided water to fight the fire.
Mr William Jesse Mensah, Director of Operations at GNFS, who together with Deputy Commissioner of Police Beatrice Zakpaa Vib-Sanziri, Tema Regional Police Commander, took the Minister round the scene, said apart from the medicines stored at the premises, there were also cylinders at the stores leading to the intensity of the fire.
Mr Mensah said excavators have been hired by his outfit to help excavate the burnt heap of medicines and medical supplies.
Meanwhile, a visit to the scene by the Ghana News Agency, 24 hours after the fire, showed that even though it has been brought under control, some pockets of flame were yet to be extinguished.
The entire area was still engulfed in smoke emanating from the debris with GNFS fire officers cooling off the fire scene with water and foam from the few fire tenders available.