A FIRE which started around 4:00am yesterday dawn has burnt down six container shops at the Community One Market in Tema.
According to an eyewitness, Adams Abdulai, a truck pusher at the market, the fire burnt down the entire contents of the affected shops.
Abdulai told DAILY GUIDE that he, together with other boys who sleep in the market, noticed signs of the fire from one of the shops which was a mobile phone repairing shop; and later, the fire spread to the five other shops which were all close to each other.
He said one of them called the metropolitan fire service and regretted the action of the officer who answered their call. He noted that the officer kept asking so many questions after they had mentioned to him the exact location where the fire occurred.
Abdulai said not satisfied with the response of the fire officer, they dropped the call after which they tried preventing the fire from catching other adjoining shops.
“When we realized that the fire man was not interested in our story, we quickly moved in and moved away wooden and metal container shops around the fire scene to ensure that the fire did not extend to those shops,” Abdulai narrated.
He said because there was not water around, all they could do was to stand there and watch the fire raze down those six shops, adding that fire men later showed up at the scene, by which time the damage had already been done.
When DAILY GUIDE visited the scene, the shop owners were shedding tears, with others looking on in shock.
With tears in her eyes, a woman told DAILY GUIDE that one of the shops belonged to her elder sister Gladys.
“We are finished! This is where we all get our daily bread and fire has burnt this down. Where else do we feed from?” she lamented as she kept moving and crying intermittently around her sister's burnt shop.
Another affected person, Enoch Tawiah, explained that he was called and informed by Abdulai that his shop and that of his mother were on fire, and that they were trying to call the fire service.
“I quickly dressed up and rushed to the market where on arrival, I realized that my shop was burnt completely,” Tawiah lamented.
Tawiah explained that he repairs mobile phones in the shop.
“Apart from repairing of mobile phones, I also sell mobile phones and their accessories as well as used phones,” he said.
He added that he had more than 800 mobile phones and some accessories in the shop which were now completely burnt.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive, Robert Kempes Ofosu-Ware, later visited the scene to have first-hand information and to see the level of destruction by the fire.
Interacting with the affected traders, Ofosu-Ware expressed his sympathy and said a committee would be set up to investigate the cause of the fire.
He added that officials from the Ghana National Fire Service, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) would be involved.
He gave the assurance that his office would liaise with the metropolitan branch of NADMO to assist the affected traders after investigations have been conducted into what could have caused the fire outbreak.
Meanwhile, media reports yesterday indicated that about 25 houses in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region were burnt down about five days ago in the midst of a rainstorm that hit Asasikrom, a town in the district.
The District Coordinator of NADMO, Lovejoe Dusi, who confirmed the incident to Joy FM, said the fire escalated to that level due to lack of fire fighters close to the community.
However, there was no human casualty in the fire outbreak, but several personal effects were burnt to ashes.
He said a team from NADMO visited the area Tuesday to assess the situation there. His outfit is currently taking care of the displaced residents, and relief items have been distributed to the affected persons, he added.
“I strongly believe it is a human error. Because before the fire started, I believe the people who use this local [wood] fire did not quench the fire before the wind started, so that was it.”
From Razak Mardorgyz Abubakar, Tema