23 April 2007

Ghana: Coalpot Fire Caused Takoradi Market

Sekondi — THE Committee set to look into the causes of the Takoradi Market Circle fire outbreak has identified an improperly extinguished coal pot fire as the supposed cause of the fire outbreak.

The seat of the fire, according to the Committee was between stalls E415-E420.

The fire outbreak occurred on the 15th of March this year at about 7:30 in the evening, razing portions of the market to the ground.

Presenting its report to the Regional Minister recently, after three weeks of sitting, the Chairman of the Committee, Nana Ekow Abban said the supposed coal pot fire then spread to other wooden structures within the neighborhood of the fire with containers of edible oil in some of the stores aiding the combustion.

Consequently, the Committee has recommended among other things, that the use of fire in the market be restricted and specified area for cooking must be provided in the new design of the market. Cooking in stalls must also be prohibited.

There must however be collaboration between the market administration and the traditional market queens to enforce discipline and to enhance cooperation between the two bodies.

The number of Assembly employed watchmen in the market should also be increased from three to six and the watchmen must be provided with basic gadgets.

The Committee Chairman disclosed that, as a result of the fire outbreak, 152 stalls representing five percent of the total market stalls in the inner perimeter of the market were razed to the ground.

The total cost of items and properties destroyed in the process was about six hundred and twelve million cedis, excluding the cost of the wooden structures burnt.

The Committee also found out in the course of their investigations that the entire market was congested with too many people occupying very small places, the inner perimeter was mostly with no uniformity in sizes of the stalls and there were no access roads for vehicles and pedestrians.

There was also no streamlined structure with job description for the administration of the market indicating that the present structure of the market was basically revenue oriented.

Receiving the report, the Regional Minister, Hon. Anthony Evans Amoah who described the report as simple but unambiguous, thanked the Committee for a good job done and gave the assurance that the report would be studied.

The recommendations and suggestions according to the Minister, would be forwarded to the Local Government and Environment Ministry for action.

The Minister also assured the traders whose items were destroyed in the course of the fire outbreak that his administration would convene a meeting with the Assembly to discuss matters relating to the financial help the Assembly could extend to them.

The Committee was set up by the Minister to investigate the cause or causes of the fire outbreak and to recommend ways of forestalling any such future occurrences in the market.

The Deputy Regional Minister, Hon. Kwesi Blay, the Mayor of SAEMA, Mr. Phillip Kwesi Nkrumah and the Chief Director of the Regional Coordinating Council, Mr. David Yaro flanked the Minister.

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