The seven-member committee set up to investigate the fire outbreak which engulfed a three-story building at the Okaishie-Makola market in Accra on Monday, 5th July 2021 has recommended the demolition of the structure.
According to the committee’s report per the structural integrity report on the burnt building, it was observed that the structure was “weak and compromised hence must be pull down.”
Presenting the report of the committee at a press briefing in Accra, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah, disclosed that the services of the 48 Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had been contracted to pull down the building on Sunday, 22nd August 2021.
He said the committee also recommended that the Ghana Water Company find a way to resolve the low pressure of water in the Central Business District (CBD) as well as repair all damaged or unused fire hydrants adding that it was also proposed that the Electricity Company of Ghana should ensure the stability of power in the markets.
The AMA boss disclosed that the Ministry of Trade and Industry had finalised a comforting package for the affected traders to be announced soon and that the Central Government through the Ministry of Energy under Millennium Development Authority (MIDA) has begun rewiring of all major markets in Accra including Makola, Timber Market, Kaneshie.
Touching on the cause of the fire Hon Adjei Sowah, said according to the committee a smoke was noticed in front of one of the shops namely Afia 1 2 3 enterprise on the second floor of the building from a generator set switched on after an alleged power outage but an attempt to put it off proved futile.
He noted that critical observations from the committee’s report include erratic power outages, exposure and disorganised wiring system, difficulty in accessing water, expired fire extinguishers and lack of knowledge of its use, as well as the absence of insurance policy at the market stressing that a Preventive Committee comprising GNFS, AMA Engineers, Metro NADMO and other agencies had been established to conduct a city-wide inspection of public places including the markets to quell the rampant fire outbreaks in Accra.
Hon Adjei Sowah used the opportunity to express his appreciation to the Fire Officers on duty, Police officers who responded swiftly in providing security, NADMO Officers for the emergency services, Military Officers for staying on the ground and the AMA Metro Guards for controlling trading activities.
President of Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng in an interview thanked the AMA boss for the timely release of the committee report stressing that this was the first time a fire report had been received soon after a fire outbreak.
He also appealed to the government to as a matter of urgency support the operations of the Accra Central Fire Service station with a state of the art fire tender to effectively fight fire outbreaks in the CBD.
He also stressed the need to standardised the supply of power during outages and called on shop owners to acquire central generators to discourage the use of individual generators.