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Faulty wiring blamed for fire at Insports - Officials say no injury to staff or damage to files

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 6:00 AMMarc Stamp

Fire estimated at a cost of $1 million yesterday damaged a section of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS).

No one was hurt during the blaze.

According to information received, the fire started at approximately 7:10 a.m. in the accounts department. Damage was done to chairs, fixtures, cabinets and computers. However, the files were not burnt.

A statement from Audrey Villiers, Insports' human resources manager, said: "This serves to advise all staff that there was a minor fire inside the accounts secretary's office on June 21.

"Following an assessment, the fire department has informed the administrative director, Ian Andrews, that this predicament started in the air condition unit as a result of faulty electrical wiring. The administrative director will again make a request to the board and the parent ministry to have Independent Park Limited (IPL) correct this matter of faulty wiring, which

previously resulted in a similar incident."

In a later correspondence, Andrews updated Alison McLean, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, on the incident and indicated that there was a similar occurrence two years ago, which caused damage to his and the executive secretary's offices.

 

NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT

 

"Again, despite frequent requests made to have the matter corrected, it still has not been rectified, and the agency has not received any financial support in this regard," said Andrews.

He added that they are seeking the support of Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, to get financing to address the

situation.

It is understood that Minister Grange has instructed the newly appointed board to hold a meeting within the next two days with regards to the situation.

Villiers, in the meantime, assured that no member of staff was harmed and personnel and accounting files were secured.

She said: "I am pleased to inform all staff members that the auxiliary worker who was cleaning the offices during the period of this predicament is unharmed.

"Additionally, in keeping with the auditor general's recommendations, a disaster-proof area was established in the accounts department, and as such all accounting files and personnel files have been secured. The agency is making every effort to make certain that the current sports development activities are not impacted by this minor incident," she added.

"The York Park Fire Station was alerted and quickly stopped further damage. The Stadium Gardens Police are investigating the cause of fire."

Meanwhile, Major Desmon Brown, manager at IPL, says that he is not aware of any faulty wiring at Insports.

"All I can say is that an alarm was made and the authorities alerted. We had put that system in place years ago. Safety is a main issue, and as far as I know there is no faulty wiring over there," Brown told The Gleaner.

The fire brigade and police were commended for their quick response to the emergency call.

The National Arena, where Insports' offices are located, houses several national sporting organisations. None were severely affected.

Andrews said: "In the interim the agency will be able to function with the aid of mobile electrical lighting for the processing of payments to staff and creditors until the faulty wiring in the offices are rectified. This incident has not affected the day-to-day operations of the agency, which includes the staging of sporting activities in keeping with the strategic direction and operation plan."