July 5 fire at Makola: 3-Storey building to go down
The three-storey building gutted by fire at Makola in Accra last month will be pulled down completely.
The exercise will be undertaken by personnel from the 48 Engineers Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces on Sunday.
The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) arrived at the decision after a committee tasked to investigate the July 5, 2021, fire incident cast a slur on the structural integrity of the building following the fire incident.
In its report, the gist of which was shared with journalists in Accra yesterday, the committee found that the building had since become “weak and compromised”.
The committee also established that a generator set started the fire that engulfed a bigger part of the building and destroyed merchandise and personal items worth thousands of Ghana cedis.
The report, according to the Chief Executive of the AMA, Mr Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, said smoke was detected in front of one of the shops (Afia 123 Enterprise) on the second floor from a generator set that had been switched on to power that particular store.
The occupants of the shop then made unsuccessful attempts to douse the fire with an extinguisher.
“The flame of the spark caught a hanged banner which further spread the fire to other shops on that floor and later to other parts of the building,” Mr Sowah said, attributing it to the report.
Mr Sowah said the committee also found that there were “naked and haphazardly exposed” wires in the building.
In addition, the committee observed that there was bad electrical wiring, especially by unprofessional electricians as well as the use of substandard materials.
“Though the Ghana Water Company Limited reported of available water supply in the central business district, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) indicated that due to low pressure of the water, they had to go to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and adjoining areas to access water, and that affected the timely response to fight the fire,” Mr Sowah added.
Mr Sowah said the assembly had started implementing the key recommendations captured in the report to overcome the rampant fire outbreaks in Accra.
He said a Fire Preventive Committee, made up of the GNFS, AMA engineers, the National Disaster Management Organisation, among other agencies, had been formed to undertake a city-wide inspection and enforcement exercise, especially in public places such as markets.
He said the government, through the Ministry of Energy, had also started rewiring all major markets in Accra, including Makola, the Timber and Kaneshie markets.
Some traders affected by the fire incident expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the Fire Service to fire incidents in the market.
They said they had lost confidence in the ability of the Makola Station of the Fire Service and appealed to the government to resource the station.
“This is a market, and accidents can happen at any time in the area. From past experiences, we do not think that the Fire Service can deal with any fire incident here timeously,” the Public Relations Officer of the Tenants of Makola Shopping Mall Association, Mrs Josephine Hammond, told the Daily Graphic.