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25.06.2009 General News

Fire Service drove hawkers away its premises with water cannons

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Accra, June 24, GNA - Personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Greater Accra Region office, on Tuesday embarked on a desperate move to ward off hawkers, who had besieged their premises with their wares.

In an answer to a fire outbreak, the personnel had to spray the hawkers with water cannons since the hawkers' wares had become a hurdle for fire fighters whenever they had to move out in response to a public duty.

Mr Kru Agyarko-Attobrah, the Regional Fire Officer told journalists in Accra on Wednesday.

The Regional Chief Officer justified the action and said when the call came they had to move out of their bay as quickly as possible but said it was difficult to move out their fire tender.

“When the driver tried moving out of the fire station, it nearly runs into some of the hawkers on both sides of the road.

“In order to avoid killing people on the road, the vehicle runs into a Ghana Armed Forces Vehicle waiting in the queue.

Today when we reported to work, the hawkers have advised themselves,” he remarked.

The Regional Fire Officer said when the decongestion exercise was carried out last year it took personnel only three minutes for them to get to Kwame Nkrumah Circle.

“But now it's even take us about 15 minutes to move out tenders to the nearest traffic light.”

Recounting the various challenges of the service in their operations, Mr Agyarko-Attobrah cited congestion as a result of lack of access routes to the various markets, non-availability of segregated markets and non adherence of public education on fire out break.

He noted that most traders have turned death ears on the public education offered by the service.

In addition, the Regional officer said most markets had all sort of food stuff and lubricants together at the various markets.

Furthermore, all the routes in the market, Mr Agyarko-Attobrah said had been taken over by hawkers, thereby, making it difficult for officers to fight fire outbreaks.

He, therefore, appealed to city authorities to segregate the markets to ensure easy accessibility.

The regional officer also appealed to traders to take public education on safety measures seriously to curtail fire out breaks in the various markets.

In March and April this year, the Greater Region had recorded 45 and 47 fire outbreaks respectively. The month of May saw 40 cases of fire outbreaks.


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