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28.10.2003 Regional News

Western Region lost 1.4 billion cedis in fire.

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Fijai (W/R) Oct. 28, GNA- Property and goods worth 1.4 billion cedis were lost in fire disasters in the Western Region between January and September this year.

The region recorded nine injuries and responded to a total of 151 fire calls within the same period.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Tim G. B. Arthur, Western Regional Fire Officer disclosed this at a workers forum at Fijai in the Western Region.

It was organised in honour of Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, Minister of Interior on Monday as part of his visit to the region.

He noted with concern the rampant fire outbreaks in the markets and said such outbreaks, usually lead to the loss of property.

Mr Arthur said to reduce the incidence a taskforce made of the staff of the Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly and personnel of the fire service had been established to go round the market after each day's work, to ensure that fires used for cooking by some of the traders are properly put off.

The Deputy Chief Fire Officer said the late report of fires, coupled with the obstruction of the fire tenders, were major problems facing the service.

"To solve this situation, we are educating the public on the importance of the fire service and its role in the protection and rescue of people trapped in any fire" he added.

He said Sekondi-Takoradi, has a staff of 20, "which is woefully inadequate".

He suggested the recruitment of 100 people from the various districts in the region, to support the personnel at their own localities. Mr. Owusu-Agyeman said it was unfortunate that many Ghanaians do not appreciate the value of the fire service.

He urged the GNFS to exhibit a high sense of professionalism and commitment to duty adding, "though your work is riskier, your role is to save lives and property"

Mr. Owusu-Agyeman assured them that their risk allowance would be re-instituted, while long service award and a housing scheme would commence after the necessary agreements were concluded.

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