General News of Thursday, 11 October 2012
Source: Daily Graphic
Fire razed down the two-storey ancient palace of the Benkumhene of the Akyem Abuakwa Traditional Area and Chief of Begoro in the Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region on Tuesday night.
The 100-year-old edifice served as the residence of Daasebre Awuah Kotoko II and his family.
Property and regalia in the building, such as the black stool, 20 suitcases containing traditional clothes and ornaments, as well as archives, were destroyed by the raging fire.
The fire, which reportedly started about 11.10 p.m. on Tuesday, caught Daasebre Kotoko stranded at the porch of his bedroom on the second floor of the structure.
The chief had woken up to pray and saw thick smoke from the sitting room next to his bedroom and began screaming for help. Luckily, he saw six young men sitting in front of an adjacent house and had to appeal to them to quickly go to his aid.
Narrating the incident to graphic.com.gh, Daasebre Kotoko said the youth had to use a ladder to rescue him from the second floor of the engulfed palace.
“Immediately those Good Samaritans succeeded in bringing me down, my bedroom also caught fire,” the grief-stricken chief stated, in apparent appreciation of what the young men did.
The chief is reported to have climbed down the ladder clad only in singlet and a pair of shorts and was rushed to his younger brother’s house, also in Begoro, where he is currently putting up.
He stated that when the incident occurred, some of his subjects rang the Begoro Station of the Fire Service, who told the callers that they were handicapped, since the battery of the new fire engine had run down.
“The firemen then had to call in their colleagues from Koforidua and Nkawkaw, who arrived to put out the fire about 2 p.m.,” he stated.
According to the chief, he had retired to bed about 9 p.m. when there was a power outage. He said when power was restored about 10 p.m., he woke up to pray, only to hear several sparks in the sitting room, adding that at that time he had mistaken the noise for the presence of thieves at the palace.
“When I came out with a torchlight, I saw thick smoke coming from my sitting room next to my bedroom and I started screaming for help, as there was no way I could descend,” Daasebre Kotoko said.
He stopped short of blaming the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), saying, “It is only the Fire Service which can establish the cause.”
The large number of Begoro residents who trooped to the palace, were shocked at the extent of the destruction caused by the fire. From the damaged palace, they proceeded to the place where the chief is putting up to sympathise with him.