By Santigie Kamara/Mohamed Konneh
Operations at Youyi building came to a halt after a huge fire broke out at the fifth floor housing the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning. The mysterious fire which broke out in the early hours of Thursday, burning down the entire National Revenue Authority department of the Ministry of Lands brought operations to a standstill for about hours. The raging fire did not
spare a single document due to its magnitude.
More damages would have occurred had it not been for the swift intervention of the National Fire Force department that made it quickly to the scene. The fire which broke out at the east wing of the Youyi building housing the Lands Ministry could have spread to other department but with the prompt arrival of the fire engine the fire was quickly put under control but it was already late because
the department was already badly affected with a huge smoke oozing out of the building.
The arrival of the fire engine prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the building as the fire officers were quick to put the raging fire under control. Staff from various departments and floors were in shock and disbelief as the fire raged on burning very important documents and damaging the building as well.
The cause of the fire is still unknown but nobody was hurt as a result of the latest fire accident that left people wondering as to what and who is responsible. This is the second time in least than a month important offices of this country are been burnt down by fire. Very recently, the NASSIT office went ablaze with the latest being the National Revenue Authority department of the Ministry of Lands.
Arriving at the scene of the fire, people were seen running here and there for safety whilst the fire force officials were busy trying to put the fire off. It was about 10: b15 am when Parliamentarians and Local elected officials assembled at the Miatta Conference Hall Youyi building waiting patiently on the Vice President of Sierra Leone Alhaji Sam Samuel Summana to officially open the workshop for
capacity building on the risks associated with IUU Fishing, Extractive industries and the poor Management of Wetlands and protected areas when all of the sudden the lights in the hall went off.
The delegates, invited guests and a cross section of Journalists went out to ascertain the actual cause of the power cut. Disappointedly, though the third floor of the Youyi building which housed the Ministry of Lands and Country Planning was oozing thick black smoke with an inferno within. Within forty minutes, fire fighting vehicles from the National Fire Force led by the Chief Fire Officer Kamanda Bongay and team of fire fighters acted promptly in putting the fire to a halt. The Vice President who made it at the scene was very shocked to see the damages caused and he told
the huge crowd that government will institute an investigation into the matter. Standard Times also spoke to the Minister of Lands and Country Planning Captain Pat-Sowe who said that a joint investigation including the Police, the National Fire Force and the Ministry has been instituted to look into the matter.
Also at the scene was the Minister of Internal Affairs Musa Tarawally who told reporters that the investigation into the latest fire accident will be completed in a week’s time so as to bring to the public what is responsible for the fire outbreak.
The Minister of Lands and Country Planning Alieu Pat Sowe is quoted to have been saying that irrespective of the fact that the documentation office was set ablaze, he has in his office the original files, adding that an investigation will be mounted and whosoever is found wanting for such a cruel act will face the full force of the law.
It is not known if this week long investigation ordered will bring out the correct facts for people to know what caused the fire. On to Press hour, the cause of the fire is yet to be determined; irrespective of the fact that certain people are linking it to electrical problems others are using political and dubious claims as scapegoat. According to reports five offices including the main documentation office were burnt down.