ON Sunday, May 5, 2013 the nation was hit by the unfortunate news of a fire outbreak at the busy Kantamanato Market. The fire destroyed shops and wares which run into millions of Ghana cedis, and this affected traders and the nation at large.
AS usual personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS,) the National Disaster and Management Organisation (NADMO) and other relief agencies stormed the market in a desperate attempt to douse the fire and salvage the wares of the traders. Though the cause of the fire is still unknown, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO,) Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, claims that it might have been caused deliberately by some unknown people.
CONSEQUENTLY, the AMA has announced it will rebuild the market to meet accepted standards. And sadly instead of providing solutions to fire outbreaks in the country, GNFS has been offering reasons why they could not put out one fire or the other. They have on most occasions indicated that their fire engines used in fighting fires have broken down with only turn-table ladders used by firefighters to gain access to high structures for rescue operations.
MORESO, they have been complaining of lack of access roads to fire spots, especially market centres. Yet, our governments appear not to be bothered by the cry of GNFS. Whilst we at Today are lauding the AMA for taking steps to rebuild the market, we believe measures should be put in place to provide the GNFS with adequate logistics. Again, the intended reconstruction of Kantamanto must have fire hydrants and also be spacious enough to allow free movement.
WE also believe that there is the need for an intensive education on fire safety measures because most of the fire outbreaks at markets have been caused by ignorance of fire safety rules. The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) should work with AMA to take a critical look at illegal electricity connections.
ABOVE all, the AMA should take systematic steps to ensure that affected traders of the fire outbreak would be the first to benefit from allocation of stalls after the reconstruction. We are also calling on the insurance companies to go to the market centers and educate traders on the need to insure their wares.