Source: Graphic Ghana Online - The blame game has begun after the massive fire outbreak at the Ministry of Health’s Central Medical Stores in Tema.
While the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says it pumped enough water to the hydrant on the premises, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) insists there was no water in the hydrant when the fire started.
Official investigations are yet to be conducted into the incident.
But even before any official investigations can be conducted, officials of the two institutions, in separate interviews, absolved their establishments of any blame.
The Head of Public Relations at the GNFS, Mr Ellis Robinson Okoe, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, insisted that the hydrant at the Central?Medical Stores was not functioning at the time of the blaze.
“Our duty was to use water in the hydrant to fight the fire so when there was no water, we could not be blamed,” he said.
He said firefighters had to rely on their fire engines to fight the inferno, but at a point they ran out of water.
Mr Okoe stated that one per cent of the water bills paid by consumers was supposed to go into the building and management of hydrants so there was no justification for the GWCL to say it was not responsible for the management of hydrants once they had been installed.
But the Public Relations Manager of GWCL, Mr Mike Agyemang, told the Daily Graphic that the company pumped enough water to Tema when information about the fire outbreak reached it.
“We even diverted water supply from the Tema Port to hydrants within the area of the fire and other parts of the metropolis,” he added.
According to him, the idea was to ensure that firefighters had enough water to battle the blaze.
Mr Agyemang said the hydrant installed on the premises of the Central Medical Stores was supposed to be functioning at the time of the fire.
“Last year, we went round with the GNFS to identify malfunctioning hydrants in Tema and we repaired them,” he added.
Concerning the management of hydrants, he said hydrants at establishments considered security zones, including the Central Medical Stores, were managed by technicians of those establishments.
However, when the facility became faulty, the establishment was expected to inform the GWCL to go in for the necessary repairs.
Mr Agyemang said to the best of his knowledge, at the time of the fire at the Central Medical Stores, there was no information on the malfunctioning of the hydrant.
In Ghana, many buildings, including even state ones, do not have adequate fire safety measures.
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