Firefighters had a torrid time battling two separate fire incidents within the past 24 hours at the Kaneshie Market in Accra and the Asankragua Market in the Western Region.
Traders are yet to assess the extent of damage to their wares as personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service struggled to control the two fire incidents, which happened Friday and Saturday at the respective regions.
At the Kaneshie Market, eyewitnesses said, the fire affected two structures while four stores were affected at the Asankragua Market. The Fire Service is yet to establish the causes of the recent fire outbreaks.
According to residents at Asankragua, fire officers were helpless during the melee due to a breakdown of the fire tender in the municipality, prompting the youth to intervene to douse the fire within two hours.
Amateur video of the Kaneshie Market fire
“When we called the fire service, they told us that their fire tender had broken down. Can you imagine that an entire Municipal assembly does not have a fire tender?
“So, we the young men here including myself had to take it upon ourselves to douse the fire,” a resident was quoted by Accra-based Joy News.
“I am impressed with the contribution of everyone. We did our best to put out the fire. But I entreat our leaders to fix our fire tenders because next time, we may not be this lucky,” another said.
The District Officer Grade One of the Ghana Fire Service in the Municipality, Justice Agyee, has appealed to authorities to help fix their fire tender.
Series of fires
A few weeks ago, the Odawna Pedestrian Market also caught fire followed by another at the Liberty House branch of the GCB Bank at the Central Business District of Accra. On 15 December, there was another fire outbreak at the popular Kantamanto Market, destroying properties worth thousands of Ghana Cedis.
Government, in consultation with all stakeholders, intends to reconstruct and better protect the country’s markets and trading spaces, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has disclosed.
Dr Bawumia, accompanied by the Minister for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, Minister for Interior, Ambrose Dery, Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashittey and officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), gave the hint on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 when he toured parts of the Kantamanto market devastated by fire last night.
Leadership of the market say at least 2,592 persons have been directly affected by the fire, with sheds, stalls and ‘warehouses’ razed to the ground. Many traders expressed deep pain about the loss particularly of school uniforms procured for supply ahead of the re-opening of schools when COVID-19 restrictions are eased to allow schooling. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
A visibly upset Bawumia indicated he will lead a Government delegation to meet with leadership of the market and other stakeholders to look at ways to provide humanitarian as well as business support to the affected traders. The meeting will also discuss the modalities for the reconstruction of the market with more durable material instead of the current use of wood, as well as explore ways of beefing up security, he hinted.