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16.03.2007 General News

Market Fires becoming rampant - Minister


Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Minister of Local Government Rural Development and Environment has noted that fire outbreaks at markets in the country were becoming too rampant.

He said the frequency of market fire-outbreaks needed to be critically examined to safeguard lives, investment and properties.

Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said these when he inspected stores and shops destroyed in a fire outbreak at the Takoradi Central Market on Friday.

Mrs. Gladys Asmah, MP for Takoradi and Minister of Fisheries, Anthony E. Amoah, Western regional Minister, Philip K. Nkrumah Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Chief Executive, some members of the Regional Security Council, accompanied him.

Mr. Asamoah-Boateng said though fire was an effective tool for human daily existence, its handling and uses if not properly checked, could lead to disasters.

He hinted that all markets in the country would soon be redesigned to accommodate more people and allow easy access to water and fire in the future.

Mrs. Asmah said traders who insured their shops and wares were likely to receive some support soon.

She therefore advised women to take insurance policies seriously to absolve them from unforeseen circumstances.

Mr. Amoah commended the various fire stations that responded and supported in extinguishing the fire, the media, security services and all other individuals who in diverse ways assisted in extinguishing the fire.

It would be re-called that on fires swept through portions of the Takoradi central market popularly known as the market circle on Thursday evening and burnt several stores, shops and sheds to ashes.

The fire, which started around 1830hours, was finally brought under control around 2300 hours and there were no casualties.

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

The heat and winds made the efforts of the about 10 fire personnel and some volunteers from the Market Circle fire post difficult.

However re-enforcement from Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) helped calm the situation.

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

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 who had surrounded the market stood helplessly, watching the destruction of properties.

Some criminals, pickpockets and other miscreants forced several stores open and looted the wares while others who pretended to be porters carried away any item they were called upon to assist.

Source: GNA