There was drama at the construction site of the Nduom University at Ayensudo in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) municipality on Thursday when the Central Regional Fire Commander and his team were nearly denied access to the site for inspection.
The Regional Commander, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, (ACFO) Semekor Kwaku Fiadzo, had embarked on fire safety inspection drive to some projects being undertaken in the Cape Coast Metropolis and the KEEA municipality of the Central Region.
The inspection formed part of this year?s Regional safety week.
Mr. Budu Barnes Regional Manager of York Group of Companies, who met them, prevented the team; together with media men from undertaking their assignment, delaying them for almost two hours amidst hot exchanges with the excuse that he needed to seek permission from his bosses.
He finally allowed the team to inspect the facility after he made several calls to the ‘supposed bosses’
The contractors on site had not acquired a fire safety permit before building and for that matter had been given a one week ultimate by the Regional Fire commander to do so or would be prevented from continuing the project.
In an interview with the GNA, the Regional Fire Safety Officer, D.O III Mark Awotwe Quaye said his office noticed that omission about a month ago and wrote to the company to acquire a fire safety certificate but it failed to heed their advice.
For his part, ACFO Fiadzo indicated that it was an offence to start building without a fire safety permit and advised individuals and organisations to acquire it before starting a building project, adding that, the Service will not accept ignorance for an excuse.
?The Legislative Instrument (L.I 1724) request all builders to submit their technical drawings to the Fire Service before it starts building, but this law has been taken for granted for quite a long time, we are going to fully enforce the law?, he stated
He expressed worry over the ignorance of contractors and consultants of huge government projects in that respect and asked the government to consult them for their input before they embark on such projects, describing it as a complete compromise to safety.
It should also ensure that foreign contractors do not overlook fire safety but do the necessary consultations with the Fire Service whenever it awards them contracts.
Fire safety measures at some huge government projects such as the Cape Coast stadium and the Komenda sugar factory were said to be unsatisfactory hence his call for government to fully enforce the law, adding that, when the drawings of such projects were made available to the safety directorate to study and do the necessary consultations with stakeholders, it would enable them to provide the appropriate advice.
?I am not going to compromise on safety so far as the region is concerned and we would not accept ignorance for an excuse, because there are a lot of tourist sites and high ranked schools in the Region, so in case of any fire, the magnitude of the loss would be invaluable.? he stated.
ACFO Fiadzo said the service was determined to enforce the legislative Instrument (LI 1724) which mandates them to issue fire safety certificate to all commercial houses upon a satisfactory assessment for safety standards.
He called on the public to adhere to the many fire safety educational campaigns and precautions being undertaken by the service to make Ghana a country free of fire outbreaks.
Among the places visited were the new Kotokuraba market and stadium sites in Cape Coast and the Komenda Sugar Factory, currently under construction in the KEEA municipality.