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Fire Guts Lands Commission Offices in Accra



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Thousands of land documents and files including archival and colonial records were yesterday consumed in an intense fire that swept through the head office of the Lands Commission at Cantonments in Accra.

The fire was said to have started at about 5:15 am, according to an eyewitness who also called the fire service to put out the fire, but on their arrival, the firemen had to battle the ravaging fire with much difficulty because the papers used to store records fuelled the fire which spread rapidly through the building.

According to the eyewitness, the entire area was engulfed in plumes of thick smoke that billowed from the building, while the fire ravaged and consumed furniture, computers and other electronic gadgets.

The Director of Survey and Mapping of the Commission, Mr. Joseph Tetteh Odamitey told newsmen that the fire devastated the Public and Vested Lands division and that of survey and Mapping division respectively where important documents are kept.

Mr. Odamity said the Library which stored up to date records, the Conference room, Typing pool and Research divisions were all burnt.

He noted that most of the ancient documents which were not captured in soft copy were all destroyed. ‘The fire, did not also spare some computers which have up to date information,’ he said.

The Executive Director of the Commission, Dr. Odame Larbi assured the work of the commission would continue while personnel of the Fire Service and the Police conducted investigations into the cause of the incident.

The Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mr. Brown Gaisie asked the workers not to enter any of the affected offices to work or pick any document since there could be necked fire or electricity in the debris. Besides, the ceilings could easily cave in because of the intensity of the fire.

The Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Fire Service, Mr. Prince Billy Anaglate said on receiving the information personnel were deployed to the scene together with three fire tenders, a water tanker and a turn table ladder to fight the fire which was brought under control in about two hours.

Earlier, a member of the Board of the Lands Commission, Oko Nii Koi Dzane, told the media that the damage caused by the fire was quite extensive.

Cheque books, records books, “everything to do with accounting,” he said, all went up in flames.

Mr. Dzane said the fire started in one department, but quickly spread to other departments.

There are concerns officials may not be able to retrieve the records lost to the fire but Mr. Dzane assured there are backups.

Meanwhile Lands and Natural Resources Minister Mike Hammah says investigations would soon be launched into the incident.

Source: The Ghanaian Times



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