The fire scene
Barely three days after a fire gutted the Accra Railway Police Station at Kantamanto, an inferno of massive magnitude rocked Makola, in the heart of the Central Business District of Accra.
The inferno, the kind of which is unparalleled in recent times, had some shop owners collapsing upon seeing their wealth go up in flames yesterday.
Two out of the four-storey structure affected were completely burnt; the other two were partially burnt.
Starting in the early hours of the morning, around 8.30am, fire fighters from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) had a torrid time bringing the fire under control.
It took the reinforcement of other firefighters from as far afield as Burma Camp, to fight the inferno.
At a time when the available tenders were overwhelmed by the sheer state of the fire and had to withdraw to replenish the water in their tanks, onlookers and shop owners got visibly disappointed.
The impression of ‘no water’ as onlookers and shop owners muttered it did not put the firefighters in good light even as they put in their best to save the situation.
Personnel had their convincing points; access to the raging fire was no picnic affair.
With so many hawkers taking up positions on the access route, firefighters had cause to grumble as their constant movement to get water did not help matters.
Ten fire tenders, nine from the GNFS and one from the Armed Forces took part in the operation.
The inferno has left in its trail properties destroyed and buildings crumbling; a four-storey structure being the epicentre of it all.
Firefighters were busy applying the various skills at their disposal to stop the fire, this not initially responding, they resorted to restricting the fire to the already affected structures.
The contents of the shops, incendiary in nature; hair products, cosmetics and wax prints in particular, fueled the inferno.
With a lot of woodworks, the inferno stood tall as it resisted the interventions of the platoons of firemen.
An eyewitness said, “I went to buy some things at Makola within Okaishie enclave this morning. In the process, I saw smoke coming from the second floor of the three-storey building. So the people around started calling the Fire Service. After about five minutes, the Fire Service personnel were still not around, but the fire was spreading, so people in the complex tried to gather their things from the shops before the fire could get to their shops. I eventually moved away because the fire was intensifying, and you could feel the heat from the fire, which was becoming dangerous for people around.”
The Fire Service personnel as at 3pm were still fighting to bring the fire under control.
Family members and sympathisers of shop owners rushed to the scene to see for their eyes the developing story.
A shop owner was worried about how thieves would steal their remaining properties. Her fear was fueled by the many thieves who have been operating from the Central Business District for a long time.
However, there was heavy police presence at the scene, so there was no looting of items.
According to the Head of Public Affairs of the GNFS, DO I Ellis Robinson Okoe, in a statement, “We had a distress call at 9.10hours that the commercial structure opposite the Makola Malll was on fire. 10 trucks made up of nine from the GNFS and one from the Armed Forces were used to douse the fire. The cause of the fire is unknown. Two out of the four-storey were totally burnt and the third and fourth partially burnt. There was no casualty.”
Just last Friday, the Railways Police Station at Kantamanto was ravaged by a similar fire, forcing the police to evacuate the inmates as well as the armoury.
By A.R. Gomda