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25.01.2011 General News

Ghana loses GH¢24 million to fire

By The Mirror
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Ghana has lost almost GH¢24 million to fire outbreaks within the last two and half years.

ACCORDING to statistics available at the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), a total of 7,670 fire outbreaks occurred between January 2008 and June 2010 leading to 102 deaths, 119 injuries and damages worth GH¢23,964,380.

The statistics indicate that the Greater Accra Region recorded the highest number of fire outbreaks, with 2002 reported cases . The Ashanti Region followed closely with 1,823 fire incidents.

The Brong Ahafo and the Central Region recorded 821 and 732 cases respectively, with the Eastern and Western regions recording 494 and 379 cases of fire outbreaks respectively.

The Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions recorded 301, 304 and 379 cases of fire outbreaks respectively.

The Volta Region recorded the least cases with 42 outbreaks.

The GNFS statistics further indicate that of the total 7670 fire outbreaks that occurred between January 2008 and June 2010, 3,129, representing 40.6 per cent were as a result of domestic fires. Two hundred and sixty five, representing three point four per cent were as a result of industrial fires, while 883, representing 11.8 per cent were as a result of vehicular fires.

Institutional fires accounted for 183 fire outbreaks representing two point five per cent, while electrical fires accounted for 617 fire outbreaks nation-wide, representing eight point seven per cent of total fire outbreaks.

Seven hundred and twenty three fire outbreaks, representing nine point six per cent were due to commercial fires, with 1007 outbreaks, representing 13 per cent occurring as a result of bush fires.

A further 863 outbreaks, representing 10.6 per cent were due to other causes.

Commenting on the high spate of fire outbreaks in the country, Mr Elise Robinson Okoe of the Public Relation Department of GNFS said carelessness was the main cause for the high incidences of fire outbreaks in the country.

Mr Okoe told The Mirror that people do not adhere to fire safety regulations, more so in the industries.

He noted that the high rate of fire outbreaks in markets around the country was mainly because markets in the country lack fire wardens, who were supposed to go round after daily market activities to ensure that open fires, such as candle fire, charcoal fire and other types of fire, were not left unattended to in stores.

Mr Okoe blamed market planners for their continuous failure to consult the GNFS for fire safety advice before building markets.

He mentioned lack of modern equipment as one problem confronting the GNFS and disclosed that steps had already been taken to procure modern equipment from India, Belgium and the USA, to augment what they currently have.

Mr Okoe further cautioned Ghanaians to be extremely careful during this harmattan period so as not to cause any fire that would lead to loss of lives and damage to property.

''When you are going out, ensure that fires from gas cookers, kerosene stoves, charcoal pots and so on are put off. It's also very important to ensure that all electrical appliances are switched off. These should help prevent unnecessary fire outbreaks,'' he added.

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