Makola Fire: Congested access impedes firefighting

Human and vehicular congestion on Monday impeded the efforts of firefighters to control the fire outbreak, which destroyed about 50 shops at the Hongkong Market, near the GCB Bank, at Makola.

Fabrics, cosmetics, jewelry, toys, and other wares valued at thousands of Ghana Cedis have been lost in the inferno.

Dozens of firemen had a hard time extinguishing the fire and only managed to control it after five hours of fire fighting, with the main challenge being congested access, according to a Fire Officer who sought anonymity.

The GNA team gathered that 10 fire tenders from both Fire Service and Ghana Armed Forces were used in controlling the inferno, which affected a four-storey building filled with general merchandise.

Divisional Officer II, Ellis Robinson Okoe, the Head of Public Relations, GNFS, told the media that they were able to save two floors out of the four-storey building.

He said the GNFS had a distress call at 0900 hours and arrived at the scene within 10 minutes but had difficulty accessing the place.

The PRO also noted that all fire hydrants at the Makola Market did not have the needed pressure, for which reason they had to go to Alajo, Nkrumah Circle, and the Ministries to refill their water tanks.

He observed that though many shops at the Market had fire extinguishers, the shop owners could not use them when the fire started because they did not know how to operate the extinguishers.

“…But at the moment, we have been able to bring the fire under control and we are going to break the containers to ensure pockets of fire are completely doused,” he stated and asked traders and shop owners to be patient.

The incident affected trading activities at the Central Business District with many shops closed.

Some traders blamed the Fire Service for allowing the fire “to get out of hand before acting.”

Madam Cecilia, a trader, said the fire started around 0730 and claimed they called Fire Service but they allegedly underestimated it.

The police were called in early to cordoned off the area for safety and effective fire fighting.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Madam Taiye Saddik, a wig seller also a victim told the GNA team that she has lost about GH¢ 500,000.00 worth of hair products to the fire outbreak.
She told the GNA team in an interview that they were oblivious of what triggered the fire outburst but predicted it could be an electrical fault and their efforts to put it off yielded no result.

Some shop owners affected by the fire pleaded with the government to come to their aid since most of them were operating on loans and this was their only means of livelihood.

Source: GNA

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