General News of Tuesday, 19 April 2011
A raging fire has engulfed a number of shops at the Kantamanto market in the central business district of Accra, eyewitnesses have told Asempa News.
Some shops around the Kantamanto area particularly close to the Despite Music stores have been razed down, they claimed.
The area has suffered a number of fire devastations in recent times, among them a destructive outbreak that reduced a number of shops into ashes and wasted millions in wares.
Traders at the market told Myjoyonline.com that the fire started at between 14:00 and 15:00 GMT Tuesday after a welder who was working on an iron gate tampered with some wires in one of the shops.
The shop, full of Latex foam mattresses caught fire and all attempts to contain it failed as the raging fire engulfed another shop close by, according to the eyewitnesses.
The traders say the second shop contained paints, turpentine, tina and other petroleum products. They believe the nature and content of the products may have increased the intensity of the fire.
In an interview with Myjoyonline.com, Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service Prince Billy Anaglate, confirmed that his outfit received a call from the traders around 14: 45 GMT for help. He said the firemen responded immediately, moving to the fire scene within six minutes with a fire tender.
Mr Anaglate discounted claims by traders that the firemen arrived at the scene with a fire tender which contained no water, explaining that firemen set up two base bumps to be supplied with water from other tenders and water tankers. In all, he said six fire fighting engines with two tankers were sent to the scene to help quench the fire.
The PRO added that his men encountered numerous challenges among which were their inability to have access to the fire ground due to the haphazard nature in which structures had been built.
Again, he said the firemen had problems with bystanders who tried to help control the fire while overlooking their own safety. The fire fighters had to protect the traders as well as control the fire from spreading to other buildings in the area.
He was disappointed that the only hydrant around the market could not feed the bump stands because it was not working. He called on authorities to ensure such facilities were in good shape at such places to facilitate the work of firemen in case of a fire outbreak.
Mr Anaglate said he could not tell for now the cause of the fire but assured that investigations would be expedited to assess the extent of damage after the fire is completely extinguished.