Public officers were forced to evacuate the Ministerial Complex building which houses the Prime Minister’s office last week Thursday after smoke started pouring out from an air-conditioned unit.
Emergency response teams responded immediately after receiving a call about the incident shortly after 8.00 a.m.
According to reports reaching THE NEW TODAY, employees in the health and agriculture departments on the second floor of the building detected smoke inside the building and that some of them would have inhaled the bad fume coming from the air conditioning unit.
The employees immediately evacuated the building and the area was cordoned off for security purposes.
This newspaper learnt that the problem at the facility was caused due to a rubber in the air-conditioning unit that burnt out and that the bearings were rushing thus making a loud noise.
In a press release issued last week Friday, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for Information, Senator Winston Garraway confirmed the incident and congratulated employees for their swift response.
“Just about 8 o’clock yesterday morning, there was a smell of burning rubber coming from the second floor, precisely from the AC unit on the north end of that floor”, the Senator said, “It was smoke, and it could have been fire, and people got out”.
Officers attached to the Fire Department, the Service men for the AC Unit and the Electrical Engineers from the Electrical Unit of the Ministry of Works were called in and were able to ascertain that within that AC Unit there was a malfunction where the rubber encasement deteriorated and the smoke was as a result of melting rubber.
“They were able to at least shut it down and put all the measures in place to ensure that it wasn’t something more serious”, Garraway said.
In securing the Complex, other air conditioning units on the different floors were inspected. Workers, after being outside for about two hours, were then given the all clear to return to their desks.
Sen. Garraway said that the occurrence further underscored the need to have proper evacuation plans for the Ministerial Complex.
“We are just about to go into the Hurricane Season, and it could be any disaster, any hazard, and we must have a plan that is working, and to ensure people are safe and are protected,” he added.