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Fire service: ‘Fatality of Lamin village fire outbreak could have been avoided’

Apr 22, 2015, 11:11 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The Gambia Fire and Rescue Services (GFRS) has said the death of the woman and her child who were burnt “beyond recognition” could have been avoided if the fire fighters were contacted early.

Mrs Mamie Belford Secka, and her five year old daughter, Zahra Secka, met their untimely death during a fire outbreak in their compound in Lamin Sanchaba on 17 April.

The public relations officer of the GFRS, Inspector Mohammed Drammeh, has said that even though the fire started around midnight, the fire service was not contacted until around 02:40am.

He said if the fire service were informed earlier, the fatality “could have been avoided”.

Inspector Drammeh said:  “On Friday, the 17 day of April 2015, at 02:40am the fire fighters at Churchill’s Town received a call from one Sarr, a fire officer, who reported that there was a fire outbreak at Lamin Sanchaba in the compound of one Mr Christopher Belford.

“The crew left to the incident immediately and arrived there at 02:47am.  Upon their arrival, they found out that two people were inside gutted by the fire; it was at that point they started to carry out a search and rescue operations alongside firefighting.”

“After a thorough searching, the officers found two people trapped inside by the fire; the two were later identified to be Mrs Mamie Belford Secka, and  Fatima Zahra Secka, who was 5 years.”

Inspector Drammeh said the mother and child were later pronounced dead at a hospital.

He noted that the fire was “believed to be caused by apparent electrical short circuit”.

Drammeh urged the general public to be very valiant and report any suspected case of fire outbreak within the environment.

“We distribute fire service numbers during the Fire Service Day (20 November 2014), during community sensitisation programme, and school sensitisation and even on our weekly talk shows on the radios,” he said.

PRO Drammeh also urged the general public to acquire quality electrical materials, hire qualified electricians, and do electrical maintenance, when the need arises, to avoid fire outbreaks caused by electrical issues.

“We pray that this (the loss of lives to fire in Lamin village) will be first and last of its kind and that can be achieved if only people contact the fire services early,” he said, while expressing “the deepest condolence” of the chief fire officer and the entire fire service to the bereaved family.