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General News of Monday, 13 September 2010

Source: Ghanaian Times

Fire woman crashes to death in simulation exercise

A demonstration of a rescue exercise by personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to educate people living on high-rise buildings on how to escape in the event of a disaster has resulted in the death of one fire officer.

Mrs. Hannah Yawson Ayiah, 40, is reported to have fallen from the fifth floor of the CEDI House onto the basement in the course of the exercise last Thursday.

An eyewitness told the Times newspaper that the rope from which Mrs. Ayiah was being lowered snapped, plunging her to the ground.Unconscious, Mrs. Ayiah was taken to the 37 Military Hospital and was reported to be responding to treatment but died later in the afternoon.

The Public relations Officer of GNFS, Prince Billy Anaglatey, confirmed the accident to the Times and said that it was being investigated. He said that Mrs Ayiah was being “rescued” from the fifth floor of the 13 storey building in the demonstration, using what is known as the “knot chair” technique.

The technique is where a person, trapped in a fire on a high-rise building in an unconscious condition, is put in a chair tied to a rope and lowered through a window to safety.

It was during this “rescue” process what the rope tied to the chair gave way. Mrs. Ayiah’s husband, Mr. Emmanuel Ayiah, received the news to his wife’s death with shock. Speaking to Times, Mr. Ayiah said he was totally devastated.