Fire at EES Secretariat caused by overheated batteries – Report

An investigation into the fire that gutted the Eastern Equatoria state Secretariat last week has found that the incident was precipitated by a solar battery that burst into flames.

The fact-finding team released its report today in Torit.

It said the room that first caught fire was congested with solar batteries. There was no proper ventilation causing the batteries to overheat.

“…it happened because the room was congested and hot, and because of the heat, the battery among the 16 batteries that were lighting state secretariat got burnt…they say there was no evidence of criminal and intentional motives that led to the fire,” said Patrick Oting Cyprian, state Minister of Information and Communication.

On June 8, the fire that began at 7AM destroyed the Governor’s office and a section of the Secretariate building, including the room containing historical files and documents of the state dating back to 1994. However, some documents were rescued in the process.

A five-member committee was formed to investigate the cause of the fire.

Patrick Oting told Singaita FM that the committee made recommendations to avoid future fire incidents from happening.

This include installing security cameras, and fix fire extinguishers in the building during the renovation period.

The state government appreciated the committee, security forces and UNMISS for helping it establish the facts.

“I thank all security organs who have worked tirelessly to see into it that we get real results of what happened, and also thank the UNMISS especially the department of fire because they came within a short time [to] put the fire off,” Oting remarked.

Since the incident, the office of the Governor has been moved from the Secretariate until renovation is done.