Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Cause of Fire Incident at C. H. Rennie was Electrical: Staff were warned six months ago

C. H. Rennie Hospital's operations, records, and emergency rooms, among other things, were completely destroyed by fire early Sunday morning.

In an interview with Frontpage Africa, the Director of the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), Alex Dixon, revealed that the incident occurred after the hospital's administrators sought an unidentified electrician to assist them in resolving certain electrical issues at the facility. 

He said the electrician observed the electrical shock while working, which prompted an unidentified security guard at the public health facility to fight the fire with a single fire extinguisher alongside others. After emptying the powder in the facility's only fire extinguisher, the security guard and others determined the remaining extinguishers were malfunctioning after multiple tries to put out the fire, according to Mr. Dixon.

“The fire incident at the C. H. Rennie Hospital was an electrical shock. It started from the OR (Operation Room) according to our preliminary investigation. According to the security guard, they had one 5kg fire extinguisher that they used; but when he grabbed the second one, it was faulty; it couldn’t discharge because the powder in it was dry. We are still investigating and the findings will be out by Wednesday.

According to him, authorities at the hospital were not refilling or gassing the fire extinguishers that overstayed at the medical facility prior to the incident, even though firefighters have requested them to do so on numerous occasions.

No respect

He pointed out that though firefighters visited the C. H. Rennie Hospital to ensure that fire regulations are adhered to six months ago, they (firefighters) were allegedly disrespected and overlooked.

Mr. Dixon noted that the existence of the faulty fire extinguishers at the facility was reported with a recommendation to have them refill to avoid any casualty, but authorities at the facility did not take the recommendation seriously.

“The firefighters have been going there (C. H. Rennie Hospital) for inspection, but people refused to adhere to it. It’s very pathetic that there is no respect for the staff of the fire service; people overlooked them. These are things that we are going through. They were warned and informed. But the people of the hospital even argued with the county commander until he told his family that nobody should take him to the C. H. Rennie Hospital when he gets sick”.

The C. H. Rennie Hospital is the only referral hospital in Margibi County. 

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