Accra – Fire destroyed the home of former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings in Accra early on Sunday, witnesses and family members said.
His wife and daughter were in the cream-coloured residence when the blaze broke out at dawn, but escaped unhurt, an AFP correspondent said. According to his family, the ex-president was not in Accra.
However, an aide said his personal effects had been destroyed in the blaze.
“It is very sad that no personal effects of the former first family was retrieved. Everything got burnt,” Kofi Adams said.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but the head of Accra fire service, Prince Anaglate told journalists an inquiry was underway.
Rawlings stepped down from the presidency in 2001 after ruling the west African country for more than two decades, first as a coup leader and then as elected president.
Rawlings on gutted house: It’s a painful loss
Former president Jerry John Rawlings, has described Sunday’s inferno at his Ridge residence as “a painful loss”.
Following the fire which consumed the entire building that housed the former first couple, Mr Rawlings and his family vacated the house and are currently at an unknown destination.
As is often said, ‘once a soldier, always a soldier’, Mr Rawlings, who retired as a Flight Lieutenant from the Ghana Air Force in the early 90s, proved his ability to contain stress as he told pressmen, few hours after the house was gutted that, it was not the first time such incident had happened and asked that people should not be disturbed by it.
“[It is] a painful loss but so long as no life was involved we should thank God…These things happen, they happen, don’t worry.”
Former president Rawlings was not in the house when it caught fire around 4.00am, Sunday. The only occupants at the time were his wife Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and daughter Yaa Asantewaa, who escaped unhurt.
He was reported to have travelled over the weekend to Wume, near Sogakope in the Volta Region where he was involved in an ongoing project but had to cut short his activities and rush to Accra to ascertain the extent of damage.
He explained: “I was dealing with the weed situation in the Sogakope area”.
Meanwhile President Mills has instructed the Chief of Staff to find a temporary accommodation for the family.
Investigations are underway to establish the cause of the fire.
Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana
Fire at Rawlings’ house: It was tragic – A-G
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu has described the blaze at the Rawlings’ house as tragic.
She was among a number of government officials who were at the former first couple’s residence at Ridge to sympathize with them.
Mrs Mould Iddrisu told Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng “it is a very tragic situation, so please if you can just leave us to try and sort it out today”.
She however said the couple “are doing very well”.
During the day, government and party officials who trooped to the house to share the loss of the family were tightlipped as they shy away from the media.
For instance, after visiting the family, Health Minister Benjamin Kumbuor told our reporter “no comment yet”. Attempts to solicit some comments from the National Security Coordinator Col. Gbevlo Lartey (retd) also proved futile.
Don’t blame fire at Rawlings’ house on us – GRIDCO
The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) has stated emphatically that it is too early and baseless to ascribe the cause of the fire at Rawlings’ house to them.
There were erratic power outages on Sunday dawn and people have attributed the cause of the fire at the former couple’s Ridge residence to the disruption.
But the Public Relations Officer of GRIDCO, Albert Quainoo, told Joy News’ Elvis Adjatey that until investigations are completed, it would be premature and very unfair to “jump into conclusion” whilst investigations are ongoing.
“Very, very, very unfair, there are thousands and thousands of homes in this country, a fire outbreak in one residence when so many have suffered this disruption in power supply, how do we put this to the power outage. Let’s wait for the National Fire Service and other agencies to do their investigations.”
Mr Quainoo said the disruption which happened around 1:00am was as a result of a fire at their critical sub-station equipment at Tema.
Meanwhile, he said greater percentage of the load has been restored.
Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana