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16.03.2007 General News

Takoradi Central Market burns

By myjoyonline

Properties worth millions of cedis were lost when fire swept through portions of the Takoradi Central Market on Thursday evening and burnt quantities of goods to ashes.

The fire, which started around 1830 hours, was finally brought under control around 2300 hours.

No casualties were recorded.

The fire quickly spread to other parts of the market destroying cooking oil, palm oil, cooking utensils, rubber products, foodstuffs and cloths, fowls, animals, shoes, bags and cereals, among others.

The heat overwhelmed about 10 fire personnel and some volunteers from the Market Circle fire post who attempted to control the fire.

However, when they run out of water, they called for re-enforcement from Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).

The fire personnel had a tough time controlling the fire since only two out of the over 17 fire hydrants could be located, while the market is also not accessible to vehicles.

Shop and stall owners who heard of the fire outbreak besieged the market, broke their structures and retrieved some of their goods, wares and documents to prevent them from being destroyed, while anxious onlookers surrounded the market and stood helplessly watching the destruction of the goods.

Some criminals such as pickpockets and other miscreants forced several stores open and looted the wares, while others who pretended to be porters carried away any item they could lay hands on.

Two of such criminals who were arrested for stealing some quantities of wax prints were severely beaten.

Several women were seen weeping, throwing themselves on the ground and attempted to enter their fire-gutted shops.

The various securities agencies within the metropolis had to be called in to restore law, order and prevent any further looting.

They cordoned off the outer perimeter of the market circle and prevented people from entering the market as well as the movement of goods.

The entire market was in darkness since the power rationing exercise resumed on that day. The source of the fire has not yet been established.

The Second Battalion of Infantry ambulance was on standby to assist anyone who might be trapped or injured in the fire.

Anthony E. Amoah, Western Regional Minister, Leonard Blay, Regional Security Commander, Commodore F. Daley, Flag Officer of the Western Naval Command, Kofi Duku Arthur, Regional Police Commander, Philip Kwesi Nkrumah and Edwin Philips, Chief executive and presiding member of the Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly (SAEMA) were all present to support the exercise.

Personnel of the GNFS did not speak to the media but asked them to meet them on Friday for a briefing.

Source: GNA