GRA Ignored Fire Safety Advice — GNFS

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The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) has slammed the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for ignoring a recommendation to enhance its fire systems to meet standards.
The Head of Public Relations of the GNFS, DOII Mr Ellis Robinson Okoe, in an interview, said a fire audit was done on the GRA’s Head Office Annex and recommendations were that the authority should enhance the fire safety systems to meet standards, but they did not heed to the advice.
 “If there were smoke detectors and fire alarm systems, this situation wouldn’t have occurred but they didn’t follow the recommendations”, he added.
DOII Okoe said the fire that gutted the facility was finally doused around 4 p.m. last Sunday, but firemen stayed around until Monday morning to ensure that the fire did not reignite.
He said the fire was severe because that part of the building was full of papers and chairs, in addition to a very windy weather which combined to fuel the inferno.
He added that the rooms were divided with plywood, another combustible material which fuelled the fire.
He added that the building was very weak and unsafe for use, as some particles had started falling off at the moment.
The GRA last Sunday afternoon said the fire razed its information and communications technology (ICT) centre, which was housed in the head office annex, also known as the VAT House.
The acting Commissioner-General of the authority, Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, said no data were lost in the fire, as the authority had a back-up and an emergency recovery system on remote servers.
The acting Head of Communications and Public Affairs of the GRA, Nana Birago Owusu-Ansah, confirmed that some of the burnt items were computers, documents, air conditioners and furniture.
Asked about the fire audit report, she said she did not have any idea about it and was yet to confirm.
Fire last Sunday gutted the Head Office Annex of the GRA along the Ring Road Central (Kwame Nkrumah Circle), leaving the second floor of the VAT House ravaged.
It took firemen from the GNFS about six hours to bring the fire, which started around 4 a.m., under control.
A report from the GRA indicated that the fire caused extensive structural damage to its ICT centre but that its data were safe, while no loss of cash or cheques had been recorded.

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