Arson suspected in fire outbreak at Central Medical Stores

Arson has been chalked down as a possible cause of a devastating fire that consumed Ghana’s largest drug supply and distribution centre, triggering fears of an impending drug shortage in the country.

Joy News sources have revealed that the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, had set up a committee to investigate the management of the Central Medical Stores at Tema after he expressed dissatisfaction over the running of the warehouse.

Before the committee could begin its work, however, a fire which started in a bush nearby spread to the medical warehouse, consuming everything in its wake.

“Everything has gone down the drain”, PRO of the Ministry of Health, Tony Goodman told Joy News.

15 fire tenders are yet to douse the fire at the Tema Industrial Area that has lasted more than seven (7) hours. Officials of the Ghana Fire Service have said they expect the fire to cross the 10-hour mark, making it the most difficult fire incident in recent times.

Fire engines from Tema Oil Refinery, Ghana Ports and Harbor Authority, and the Military were called in to support efforts, and it paid off after the intensity of the fire subsided in the afternoon.

But the relief was short-lived after a subsequent blast sent firefighters scrambling for another round against the inferno which as began after 10:00am Tuesday morning.

“When the Harmattan has already taken out the moisture content. Everything is ready to burn”, Deputy PRO of the Fire Service Billy Anaglatey explained to Joy News.

Firefighters have had to call in private water tanker operators to join in the still-raging battle.

“It is going to take us 10 hours to effectively deal with it”, Anaglatey predicted.

The impact and estimated loss is yet to sink in. The Central Medical Stores kept every type of licensed drug imported into the country including medications to treat West Africa’s deadliest disease in recent times- Ebola.

The value of the loss is expected to come out in the next couple of days.

However as things stand at the moment, the Central Medical Stores no longer physically exists.

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