Fire destroys parts of Export-Import Bank offices

BY: Sebastian Syme
Mr James Oheneba Yaw Kwarteng (middle), Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, speaking to some journalists at the Exim Bank
Mr James Oheneba Yaw Kwarteng (middle), Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, speaking to some journalists at the Exim Bank

Fire swept through a section of the Ghana Export-Import Bank (GEXIM) and destroyed valuable documents and other essential equipment at the office of the Director of Finance and Administration.

It took a turn-table ladder from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to access the third floor offices of the GEXIM to fight the fire that could have extended to other offices of the fourstorey building that housed six other offices.

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Fire under control Two fire engines were deployed to the scene to fight the fire.

When the Daily Graphic got there around 2 p.m. the fire had been brought under control, with smoke bellowing from the third floor.

The building also houses the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), the Ghana Aids Commission, the Ghana Olympic Committee, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and the National Labour Commission.

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Briefing reporters, the Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Divisional Officer Grade 1 (GO1) Mr James Oheneba Yaw Kwateng, said the service received a distress call around 11:40 a.m. yesterday from a security man on the premises about the fire outbreak and immediately moved its men to the scene.

He stated that access to the third floor initially posed a challenge to the fire fighters but they had to try very hard using a turn-table ladder to gain access to the floor to extinguish the raging fire.

“We had to use the turn-table ladder to break in to gain access to the office to be able to bring the fire under control,” DO1 Kwateng added.

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Affected offices

The spokesman for the GNFS confirmed that the office of the Director of Finance and Administration of GEXIM and one other office on the third floor were destroyed.

DO1 Kwateng could not establish the cause of the fire when asked but indicated that investigations had commenced to ascertain the cause.

He advised institutions to observe fire safety measures such as switching off gadgets when not in use to avoid fire disasters.

According to the fire officer, what helped the situation was the availability of an active fire hydrant on the premises from where the fire fighters drew water to quench the fire, saving them the inconvenience of going elsewhere to refill the fire tenders.

Eye witness account

An eyewitness, Mr Frederick Opare, who is also a security man for the GEXIM, told the Daily Graphic that he was on the premises when he heard a loud sound from some of the offices.

“After the loud noise that sounded like a bomb, I saw thick smoke engulfing the whole place so I immediately placed a call to the fire service,” he said.
Ghana Export-Import Bank

The GEXIM is a creation of law established by the Ghana Export-Import Bank Act 2016 (Act 911) to bolster the Government of Ghana’s quest for an aggressive and sustainable export-led economy.

The bank is an amalgamation of the Export Finance Company Limited (EFCL), the Eximguaranty Company Limited (ECL) and the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF).

It is to improve the country’s export competitiveness to rake in the much needed foreign exchange and improve upon the balance of trade.