In an emergency press conference following the massive fire that ripped through the Brickdam Police Station, security officials assured that all prisoners have been accounted for, some records were saved, and weapons have been secured.
Additionally, the public was assured that the operations of the police station will not be severely affected as a result of the fire.
The flames erupted at around 11:06hrs today and after some two hours of firefighting, the inferno destroyed some 80% of buildings in the compound.
The destroyed buildings include the Officers’ Mess Hall, the Traffic Department and the main building of the Brickdam Police Station that housed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as well as the Prosecutors’ and Commanders’ Offices.
Several vehicles were also destroyed in the fire, including some that were under active investigation.
Nearby buildings were threatened, including the law offices belonging to popular attorneys Nigel Hughes and Sase Gunraj, who is also a Commissioner at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The cause of the fire is unknown and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn could not say if arson is suspected.
When asked if he is satisfied with the response of the Fire Service, the Minister said he will await a report on the matter. That report is expected to include details such as the time the fire was first detected and how long it took for assistance to be rendered.
Top Cop (ag) Nigel Hoppie told reporters that the law enforcement officials were operating in a challenging environment since the wind was heavy and the place was dry.
The media was further told that even off-duty firemen responded to the scene. Former Fire Chief Marlon Gentle also arrived to render assistance. Also at the scene were the Home Affairs Minister, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, and Human Services Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud.
Despite the setbacks faced, the Top Cop lauded the successes of the firefighting operation, noting that no lives were lost.
All 16 prisoners who were in the lockups at the station have been accounted for; they have already been relocated. All ranks have also been accounted for and they too are expected to be properly relocated by the end of the day. No information was disclosed on where they will be relocated to.
On a daily basis, there are some 200 ranks on duty at the station.
Divisional Commander Simon McBean noted that the operations of the station are not severely affected as a result of the fire.
“The Brickdam compound has 398 ranks that includes traffic, impact base, CID, Commander’s office and the Mess. We all know that Police operations depends on our records. As it is we will have to do an inventory on what records we would have lost to the fire; but operationally, we will continue to do our day-to-day operations in the streets of Georgetown, because most of our ranks were on the road on patrol when the incident happened. All our operational vehicles were saved so we don’t have an issue providing service to the community,” the Commander explained.
“We continue to provide the service to the citizens of Georgetown. All our patrols are out and that will continue. We are working to relocate Brickdam [Police Station] so that reports can be accepted by members of the public. By the end of our meeting, we will come to a decision as to how we are going to do that relocation,” he added.
Later in the day, the public will be advised on how they can make reports at the station.
Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Minister explained that engineers have already been engaged regarding the rebuilding of the station.