Stone-throwing hampered fire-fighting at Coconut Grove – Fire Service reacts

The Ghana Fire Service has rejected criticisms that firefighters were slow in fighting an inferno that consumed properties of businessman and politician Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom.

Communications Director Prince Billy Anaglatey told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that the work of the firefighters was obstructed by agitated bystanders.

Last Saturday, a fire which reportedly began from an air-conditioner in the studios of ATV spread through to a GN Bank branch, Gold Coast Security Offices and Business Television Africa offices which are all on the same premises as the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel.

Considerable damage was done in 7 hours to the properties owned by the business group, Groupe Nduom.

A GN Bank manager Kofi Siaw criticised the firefighters of appearing oblivious to suggestions from managers of the facilities on how to effectively access the blazing offices.

He said the fire service personnel stood by the street to douse the flame when they could have stood at a more strategic location.

The management member said the firefighters were adamant in breaking a wall that could have granted better access to the buildings on fire

“They said we cannot give them those instructions,” he complained.

In reaction, the Ghana Fire Service has expressed worry that the public does not understand the technicalities of fire-fighting.

Spokesperson, Anaglatey firefighters fighters had assessed that locked offices of the commercial properties had reduced oxygen flow around the smouldering fire.

The best way was therefore to help minimise the flow of oxygen to prevent a full blown blaze. “We would be talking about a disaster today” if the advice of the managers had been adhered to, the Public Relations Officer said.

But for untrained bystanders, their solution was to urge the firefighters to break into the offices and douse the flames, he said.

Bystanders resorted to throwing stones to break the windows and allowed in oxygen which accelerated the combustion.

He explained the fire fighters refused to break down a wall that could have granted access because the wall was acting as a wind-breaker.

The PRO stressed that “fire-fighting is scientific” explaining not every situation requires the direct approach to fire-fighting.

Photo: Premises of the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel

Yet the public, agitated at the sight of fires, are constantly haggling with fire service officers trying to do its professional job.

“The public were interfering in our jurisdiction,” he said adding this interference affects the effectiveness of fire-fighting.



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