Saint Valentine’s gift to the Rawlings’ on 14th February, 2010, was a fierce, raging fire which gutted the old colonial building and destroyed everything but for a punching bag and a supposed wrapped wooden stool. The irony of this tragedy is that on the fateful day, there was a heavy downpour in the capital, which had caused flooding in some suburbs.
The fire is said to have begun a little over 4am and according witnesses, the first Fire tender came in time but lacked the needed apparatus to effectively quench the fire. Other tenders did arrive eventually but by the time any meaningful salvaging could be done the relentless fire had taken hold of the whole building.
A visibly shaken, former first lady, Nana K. Agyemang Rawlings and daughter, Yaa Asantewaa; the only occupants in the building at that time somehow managed to escape the wrath of the fire, mainly due to the vigilance of Asantewaa. Former President Rawlings then on a mission to help clear weeds in the Volta Lake at Vume in the Volta region upon hearing the tragedy raced down to his Ridge residence in Accra in a little over four hours to verify the authenticity of the news he was hearing all over.
Upon reaching the house that had sheltered him for over 20 years and seeing the magnitude of the destruction, an otherwise fierce, confident and resolute man who ruled this country for nearly 20years was now awe struck and humbled and could only author these words when asked by curious newsmen as to how he felt “we came without and we will go without”.
Kofi Adams, spokesperson for Mr. Rawlings was however unhappy that numerous requests sent to the responsible agencies to effect a rewiring of the building was not heeded to.
After much talk in the country about this incident, one can only hope that this fire gift on a day of love wouldn’t raise it’s ugly head again as the country has fallen victim to too many fires already.