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30.03.2007 General News

Mob Attacks On Fire Personnel Condemned

By Francis Tuffuor

THE Chief Fire Officer, Felix Ferkah has condemned the attack and molestation of fire personnel by mobs in the course of their official duties.

Citing a recent attack on some personnel at Ashaiman, he said it was most unfortunate taking into consideration the pressure under which the personnel work vis-a-vis limited resources.

Speaking to the Times in Accra, Mr. Ferkah said the mob numbering about 50, armed with sticks, stones and other weapons attacked the firemen at a scene of a fire outbreak vandalising the fire tender.

The attack he said was the 11th of its kind at Ashaiman alone.

Explaining the circumstances of the attack Mr. Ferkah said the Tema fire station received information about a fire outbreak at a mechanical workshop at Ashaiman.

On arrival at the scene, the crew explained to the crowd that they could not fight the fire immediately since they had to critically examine the nature of the fire to apply correct chemical to use in view of the location of the workshop which was close to a high tension pole, but the crowd did not agree.

He said under such circumstances it was extremely dangerous to fight the fire without cutting off power supply in the area and therefore called the Electricity Company to cut off power.

He said while the crew were waiting for the power to be put off the mob rained insults and attacked them and had to seek refuge at the Ashaiman Police station. He said no arrests were made.

He said often times personnel were accused arriving late at fire scenes but he explained that this was because distress calls came late and the directions given were sometimes inaccurate.

He appealed to the public to see personnel of the service as partners and not enemies, since fire outbreaks do not know borders or barriers.

He advised the public to be careful in handling fire since most combustible materials are very dry and can cause fire at the least contact.

He also appealed to households, traders, workers and other users of electrical appliances and gadgets to go and put them off when they are not being used.

They should also check sockets, plugs and other gadgets regularly to ensure that they are in order.