GFS holds anniversary observance at Brickdam fire scene
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Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, addressing fire officers at the Brickdam Police Station  (Guyana Fire Service Photo) 
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, addressing fire officers at the Brickdam Police Station (Guyana Fire Service Photo) 

AS a reminder of the task at hand and in observance of its 64th anniversary, ranks of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS), on Tuesday, revisited the scene of the fire that destroyed more than 80 per cent of the Brickdam Police Station.

During the visit, fire-fighters were inspected by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, Chief Fire Officer (ag), Gregory Wickham, and other senior fire officials.

According to a release from the GFS, Minister Benn, while delivering brief remarks, reiterated the need for better training and confidence in the Fire Service.

He also highlighted that the government would continue to support the Fire Service by providing it with the equipment and resources needed to carry out its mandate.

“He also made mention of the great problem of arson which has been on the rise recently, resulting in the destruction of several public buildings and houses, noting that perpetrators will face the full brunt of the law,” the release said.

The minister used the opportunity to remind them that his government already has plans in motion to minimise fires across the country. Some of the plans for the Fire Service include the construction of a new Central Fire Station as well as the opening of new fire stations at Mabaruma, Lethem and Mahdia.

Fire men and women marching during the parade

Meanwhile, the acting Fire Chief said that the Brickdam Police Station was chosen specifically to signify the task at hand and what is expected of the Fire Service.

He said that the GFS has taken note of President, Dr. Irfaan Ali’s remarks in relation to the Brickdam fire and that there is an action plan in place to avoid a reoccurrence.

Wickham assured that the GFS will keep providing its services to the citizens of Guyana, and will continue to improve its performance.

Following the short programme, senior officers led a parade from the Brickdam Police Station to the Central Fire Station, where junior ranks and other employees were treated to breakfast and were able to give brief remarks and make suggestions to aid in the improved performance of the Fire Service.

Other activities planned for the GFS’ anniversary, which is being held under the theme, “it’s better being safe with fire prevention in place,” includes musters to assess the preparedness of the Fire Service in terms of appliances, manpower and protective gears, and a parade in B Division which will conclude with a lunch.

The Guyana Chronicle had reported that on October 2, fire ripped through the Brickdam station following an alleged act of arson. Clarence Greene has since been charged and remanded to prison.

Greene was one of 16 persons in custody at the time of the fire. The detainees, as well as the ranks on duty at the time, were all safely evacuated from the compound. There were no reports of serious injury or loss of life.

The devastating fire, which reportedly started in the eastern section of the compound at about 11:06 hours, destroyed the Property Room, Inquiries Office, Traffic Department, and the Officers’ Mess Hall.

Guns and ammunition were safely removed from the buildings before the fire spread. The police barrack at the western section of the compound, the “clay brick” Impact Base building, and the section which houses detainees, remained standing after the blaze was extinguished.

Recently, Minister Benn disclosed that the reconstruction of the police station is estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and the Cabinet will be approached for the necessary funding.

President Ali had also blasted the GFS for their response to the devastating fire and called for an independent investigation into the actions taken by the Fire Service to control the blaze.

The President said that a lot more could have been done by the fire officials to control the blaze and potentially prevent the destruction of several sections of the police station.

Fire Chief (Ag) Kamaladeen Edoo has been sent on leave and there is no indication as to whether he will be returning to the post.

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