Cape Coast, Jan. 23, GNA - Fire claimed seventeen lives out of the six-hundred and four (604) fire outbreaks recorded in the Central Region last year with more than an estimated GH¢76,000.00 being the cost of damage to properties.
The damaged items and properties included buildings, farms, offices, industrial machines and equipment as well as household items and personal belongings.
Statistics made available to the Ghana News Agency in Cape Coast on Wednesday showed that 81 of the fires were caused by electrical faults, 36 were commercial, 74 involved vehicles and 19 were natural disasters.
Domestic fires topped the fire figure with 223 cases while motor traffic accident fires placed second with 162 cases, followed by bush fires with 118 cases.
Divisional Officer I Gilbert Wiafe, the Central Regional Fire Officer, in an interview with the GNA, said the figures had increased by 247 as against the 2014 one and called for more public education to check the spate of fire outbreaks in the Region.
He said there were 35 incidents of industrial, institutional, saw dust, petroleum spillage, gas and refuse fires.
He said the Regional Headquarters in Cape Coast recorded the highest number of fire outbreaks in the Region with 87 cases while Abura Dunkwa recorded the least with only two cases.
Divisional Officer Wiafe expressed worry about the increasing number of fire outbreaks in the Region saying the Service would re-double its efforts this year through education and awareness creation campaigns on fire safety measures.
He identified negligence on the part of domestic fire users as the most common cause of domestic fires that were recorded in the Region and appealed to the public to acquire fire extinguishers for their homes.
He said that game hunting, irresponsible disposal of pieces of lighted cigarette, negligence by some farmers when they cooked in the farm or their failure to construct fire belts in preparation of farming during the dry season, constituted the major cause of bush fires.
Divisional Officer Wiafe appealed to the general public to avoid over-loading switch boards with electrical devices and also ensure that qualified and competent electrical contractors or electricians were employed to undertake electrical works and connections.