Fire on Sunday gutted the GMK office at the Sierra Leone Telecommunications company headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street in Freetown, some two weeks after the administrative building of the oil refinery was burnt down.
It was the commercial department, comprising the telephone bills section and the stores of the GMK company, that was completely burnt down.
According to Sheihk Ibrahim Kamara, the acting head of Security Services at Sierratel,” it was yesterday at about 10:5pm we received a distress call that flames were blazing at the Sierratel headquarter. The security men alerted the fire force and when we arrived we found the GMK office being engulfed in fire.”
The GMK is a partner of Sierratel and is also a telephone company providing telephone cards to subscribers.
According to Sheikh, subscribers affected were those with numbers starting with 29 as the exchange bond for that number was completely burnt.
He also said areas affected could be the main office at central “which takes part of State House and most of the important offices using 29 as it is one of the best systems in our local telephone network”.
As workmen undertook the ordeal of clearing the rubble, the ashes-ridden site was visited by the deputy Chief Fire Officer, Nazir Bongay, and the Inspector General of Police Brima Acha Kamara with the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations Francis Munu.
One of the workers at GMK, Mrs Fatmata Caulker, referred to the incident as a major blow to the company’s operations as they lost computers, documents, and other vital materials.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known as workers explained that the security officers who were around were taken to the police station for questioning.
Fire official Nazir Kamanda Bongay told Awoko that, “as of now we are checking whether it might be electrical fault or carelessness or foul play. But it is yet too early to pass a judgment as the investigation is on; we believe that the fire force and the police will unraveled the mystery.”
On measures to prevent an outbreak of fire, the deputy chief fire officer said “a building of this nature should have a central fire alarm system which should have been placed in the control room where security personnel are so that in the event of fire it would have triggered the central alarm system” By Ishmael Bayoh