A fright-filled scenario diffused quickly yesterday when workers at the Ministry of Legal Affairs learned that it was an electrical fault in the bathroom, and not a blaze, that had filled their offices with fumes.
According to firemen on the scene, an emergency call was made about the fumes at around 11:35 am on Wednesday, and upon arrival discovered that a ceiling-mounted extractor fan in the male bathroom was the cause of the problem.
While the area around the fan was burnt and fumes had spread throughout some of the offices, no major damage could be observed to the bathroom and no other area of the building was damaged.
Communication Officer in the Ministry of Legal Affairs Laurisa Francis told OBSERVER media that “everybody was quick to leave the building” when word began to spread that there was a fire. However, she admitted that no alarms went off.
OBSERVER media was not able to ascertain whether or not the building had fire alarms. Francis added that once firemen assessed the situation “the tension was diffused pretty quickly”, but the fire officers advised the management to allow employees to leave so as not to remain in the presence of the harmful fumes.
She said employees are expected to return to work tomorrow. The communication officer added that the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) had held a meeting in the ministry “a few weeks ago” and “refreshed us on what to do when you have to evacuate the building in an emergency situation”.
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Legal Affairs are housed in the same building at the Government Complex.