General News of Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

BBC Paints Challenges Fire Service

Board Chairman of BBC Industrial (Ghana) Limited, producers of Leyland and Leylac paints in Tema, Alhaji Mohammed Odaymat, says he is not happy with certain remarks made by the Assistant Chief Officer at the Tema Regional Fire Command in relation to a recent fire outbreak at the company’s premises.

Alhaji Odaymat, who blamed the Tema branch of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) for the mishap, said if the firemen had acted promptly, the damage would have been minimized.

According to him, the firm imported chemicals without the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We check whatever we import into this country through the ports. I do not believe that the laws of this country permit any individual or company who imports goods into this country to just go to the port and clear the goods without going through the processes,” he said.

He denied any wrongdoing on the part of the company in the importation of chemicals.

“The imported chemicals were properly packed in our premises. It is not true that our warehouse was congested at the time of the fire outbreak. Take a look around for yourself and tell me if you think it was true that this place was congested,” Alhaji Odaymat remarked, as he conducted this paper round the premises.

He took the paper round several warehouses, some of which had newly-packed vehicles.

He said when the fire started, many management members had closed for the day. A distress call was sent to inform the Tema branch of the GNFS about the fire break.

Additionally, the board chairman denied reports that the workers refused to open the factory’s premises when the fire men arrived.

“At a point in time when he realised that fire men were not fighting the fire, I asked them to try and get some sand to barricade the section where the fire had started to prevent it from spreading.

“They did not see wisdom in my suggestion I guess and stationed their fire tender from a distance and tried fighting the fire with water instead of foam.”

The water, according to him, worsened the situation because it carried some of the fire to several drums filled with chemicals.

Alhaji Odaymat also wondered why the Assistant Chief Fire Officer hurriedly organized a press conference to blame BBC Industrial Company Limited for the fire outbreak when it had not commenced investigation into the incident.

“This letter you have just seen is from the Assistant Chief Fire Officer’s office and is requesting that my company provide them with some details to help them with investigation into the fire outbreak. As you can clearly see by this letter, they are asking for our assistance so as to be able to investigate the fire yet they had already gone out there to blame us when they have not done any investigation,” Alhaji remarked.

“We paid for the water which was used in quenching the fire and also fueled the fire tenders from the GNFS because the fire men said they did not have fuel to fight the fire.”

But Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Nii Gilford Tetteh Adams, during a recent press conference, explained that the company’s management unlawfully stored explosive chemicals in the warehouses which supposedly led to the fire outbreak.

The Tema Fire Service boss said BBC had supposedly imported the chemicals in explosive drums without approval from Tema branch of the EPA.