30.03.2005 Regional News

Keta Hospital experiences fire outbreak

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Keta, March 30, GNA - A seven unit wooden structure with a store and conference facility, which served as a transit quarters for the Keta Government Hospital staff in the Volta Region was on Saturday razed to the ground by fire.

The structure, which was used by the engineers who renovated the Hospital five years ago, was located in the centre of the health facility, behind the main kitchen and close to the generator that serves the Hospital.

The fire which started as a spiral of smoke from one of the rooms around 19 00 hours later, burst into devouring flames, engulfing the whole structure and took only two hours to devastate the structure. Though the local FM station, Jubilee Radio, situated about half a kilometre from the scene announced the outbreak of the fire about 30 minutes later, it took the Fire Service personnel with a detachment of police officers some two hours to arrive at the scene.

By that time the youth around the Hospital area had mobilised themselves to put the fire under control with water from taps and wells and managed to prevent the flames from extending to the generator and other facilities close to the burning structure.

The late arrival of the Fire Service personnel from Denu, about 15 kilometre away brought violent confrontation between the police and the irate youth who had blocked entry into the Hospital premises to the Fire Service personnel.

This, later resulted in the firing of warning shorts by the police whilst the angry youth threw stones at their vehicles, destroying the wind screen of a police car.

One of the youth was arrested for trying to wrestle a weapon from a police officer, but he was later released and brought to the hospital to receive treatment from injuries he sustained through beating.

Before the structure was razed to the ground by the fire, the hospital driver, two national service personnel, one security officer, one dispensary technician and a store-keeper whose personal effects and various sums of money were burnt were occupying it.

The District Director of Health Services, Dr. Atsu Seake-Kwawu and Dr. F.K. Tsidi, who is in charge of the hospital, said a panel had been set up to unravel the cause of the fire and put stringent measures in place to prevent future occurrences.

They commended the youth for bringing the fire under control, stressing that a monument would have to be raised for the extraordinary valour and sense of commitment they showed when institutional arrangement failed.

Meanwhile the District Director of Health Services and the management of the Hospital has estimated the cost of personal belongings and the cash of the occupants, the facility itself and other property belonging to the Hospital at 350 million cedis.

The District Chief Executive, Mr. Edward Ahiabor, who braved the drizzling evening to witness what would have been one of the dreaded fire disasters in the district, ordered a report to be submitted immediately to his office.

When the District Crime Officer of the Keta District Police Headquarters was contacted for his comments on the confrontation between the police and the youth, he said, a thorough investigation had been ordered into the incident.

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