The Brickdam Police station which houses the Divisional Headquarters for Region 4 went up in flames this afternoon with nothing but ashes being left behind. The only section of the complex left standing was the concrete lock-ups.
Just around midday, the Fire Service was summoned to the scene after heavy smoke was seen billowing from a section at the back of the complex. Within minutes, the fire started to quickly spread to the other parts of the wooden building which housed several sections of the Force’s operations.
Aided by the mid-afternoon breeze, the fire engulfed most of the complex within thirty minutes as fire fighters tackled the blaze from mainly the front of the compound along Brickdam.
The Fire Service headquarters is located less than two minutes away from the station. However, the scale of the fire forced the fire service to call for additional help from the other fire stations in the city.
At the scene, the Fire men battled the blaze and were not able to access all of the hydrants in the area. Police officers and off-duty officers rushed to save various records and equipment as the persons in the lock-ups were moved out of the compound completely.
It was a chaotic scene as the fire service appeared overwhelmed and large crowds gathered around the area.
A number of government ministers and government officials rushed down to the scene and some of them were attempting to give instructions to the Police and Fire Service as they dealt with the blaze.
“Three additional fire tenders were requested in the Cabinet WhatsApp group”, Works Minister Juan Edghill blurted out, as the Fire hopscotched its way to a small buidling behind the Police Complex on Hadfield Street.
Government Elections Commission Member Sase Gunraj who is an Attorney and has a law office in the Hadfield Street area shouted several expletives as he expressed his frustration with the Fire Service not doing enough to protect the buildings in Hadfield Street.
The Brickdam Police Station was one of the first police stations built in the City and while some rehabilitation work has been done to it over the years, the old wooden structures that made up the complex remained.
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, whose office is located closeby, said some records and documents were saved, but he could not say from which department specifically.
A number of vehicles that were in the compound were also destroyed by the fire. The Minister said the government will deal with those that are government owned. He said he has no information about the insurance for any of the vehicles or the building itself.
The entire wooden complex has been levelled by the fire. Hundreds of Police officers were based at the Brickdam station. Plans are now being examined to relocate them to other stations as efforts will be made to set up a temporary office in another area.
A cause of the fire has not yet been determined.