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Ghana President Atta-Mills Orders Committee to Investigate Fire Outbreak


Ghana President Atta-Mills Orders Committee to Investigate Fire Outbreak
Ghana President Atta-Mills Orders Committee to Investigate Fire Outbreak

A committee constituted by Ghanaian President John Atta-Mills is scheduled to begin an investigation Friday into the fire that gutted the foreign ministry building.

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President Atta-Mills also directed the foreign ministry to find an alternative location in order to continue its work.

Police say although investigations are underway, three suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the fire.

Wednesday evening's blaze burnt down a 10-story building of the foreign ministry, destroying valuable documents and equipment.

There were no reported casualties or death.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Chris Kpodo said that ministry workers are scheduled to return to their normal duties Friday.

"The president has directed that we should find an alternate location for the ministry to be able to continue operating as normal," he said.

He said President Atta-Mills wants the ministry's work to continue despite efforts to get to the bottom of how the fire started.

"As you rightly have heard, the president has ordered the constitution of a committee to investigate into what caused the fire and see what can be done," Kpodo said.

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Kpodo said the foreign ministry will be using other buildings unaffected by the fire.

"The ministry has three blocks in its premises, two of the administration blocks were not affected by the fire. We are restoring electricity and communications in those two blocks, so we will still be operating from Friday," Kpodo said.

He said the ministry's workers have not been overly affected by the accident.

"They are taking it very calmly. We've asked them to remain calm. They've moved home, we've got their contact numbers and we will bring them to work as soon as we get accommodation for them," he said.

Kpodo said a small staff is working despite the accident.

"The skeleton staff is working. In fact we were in the office the whole day. So the workers are very calm, and they are just waiting to be relocated," Kpodo said.

Critics have blamed the fire department for being ineffective in putting out the fire, enabling it to gut the entire foreign ministry building.

Kpodo said the government is taking steps to help equip the fire department.

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"These are natural developments that we've seriously considered. Something like this must have exposed our weaknesses in fighting fire. So we will take steps to improve our fire fighting mechanism," he said.

The fire reportedly destroyed historic documents, including several related to Ghana's 1957 independence from colonial power Britain.

Kpodo says there is need to come up with substitute solutions for the destroyed manuscripts.

"We will try and reconstruct our documentaries," Kpodo said.

President Atta-Mills also asked the police to intensify their investigation and deal appropriately with possible perpetrators.

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