General News of Saturday, 12 December 2015
A fire outbreak at the Muus Sawmill and Timber Market at Taifa in Accra has reduced a large portion of the market to ashes and destroyed property worth thousands of Ghana cedis.
The fire, which is reported to have started around 2.30 p.m. last Thursday, torched more than 100 sheds and makeshift structures.
Other items that were totally destroyed by the fire included more than 100 heavy duty sawmill machines.
When the Daily Graphic visited the scene Friday morning, personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) were still trying to extinguish the fire.
There was also police presence at the place, while the wood sellers were counting their losses.
The Abelenkpe District Fire Officer, DO3 Mr Kofi Forson, told the Daily Graphic that no casualty was recorded.
He confirmed eyewitness account that the fire was as a result of a gas cylinder explosion.
He said the service responded immediately it received a distress call in the afternoon and its personnel had been working since to prevent the fire from getting out of hand.
Mr Forson said the fire had been very difficult to control because of the heaps of sawdust and makeshift wooden shelters at the market.
"As you can see, what we are doing now is technically called flashback. We are simply trying to ensure that the fire is completely put out. We are doing massive cooling, which may take two more days to complete,” he added.
Mr Forson advised the public to be careful with the use of naked fires, particularly in markets and other densely populated areas, during this dry season to avoid similar occurrences.
For his part, an official of the Electricity Company of Ghana in charge of power and repairs at the Accra Girls ECG station, Mr Isaac Nyamekye, who was at the scene, said the fire went out of control, due to poor electrical wiring and connection at the market.
He explained that because most of the electrical materials used at the market were sub-standard, they caught fire at the slightest exposure to heat.
An eyewitness, Mr Daniel Sarpong, told the Daily Graphic that a squatter had left the gas cylinder he was cooking with in the wooden structure unattended to and that resulted in the explosion.
Another eyewitness, Mr Isaac Akey, said at 2:30 p.m. last Thursday, he and some colleagues were sitting in one of the sheds when they saw a thick smoke coming from the roof of one of the wooden structures that served as shelter for some squatters at the market.
He said they initially attempted to control the fire with water, while they made attempts to call the GNFS.
"Suddenly we heard a blast from inside the structure and the fire went out of control,” he said, adding that the fire personnel came in quickly and earlier than we expected.
He said there were spontaneous blasts from the other wooden structures.
Ms Mary Addo, an operator at the market, said they had individually lost heavy duty machines and wooden beams worth between GH¢10,000 and GH¢100,000.
For his part, the Vice Chairman of the market, Mr Affum Amane Frimpng, said the leadership of the market was worried about the losses and called on the authorities and the government to come to their aid.
Thursday’s fire is said to be the second at the market in four years. The first fire occurred on January 10, 2011.