ACCRA - More than 100 head porters were rendered homeless last Saturday when fire gutted a two-storey building at Tip Toe Lane, near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra.
The blaze started when the head porters, popularly known as ‘Kayayei’, allegedly rushed to charge their phones when power supply was restored after three days of power outage. As a result of the overload on the electric cables, there were some electrical hitches that resulted in the fire outbreak.
Four shops were reduced to a pile of rubble after the fire, although no one sustained injury in the inferno, which started at around 9:30 p.m. and resulted in the loss of property running into thousands of Ghana cedis.
There was a slight explosion because there were combustible materials in the house, which was also used as a chop bar.
A victim of the outbreak, who gave her name only as Memunatu, told Daily Graphic that she lost all the belongings she had toiled to collect over the years to acquire, adding that she and her colleagues had to sleep outside, since they had no place to lay their heads.
She said the victims also lost GHc1,500, being money they had contributed as savings.
The incident was a cumbersome one for the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), as it took them almost two hours to put out the fire. Over 70 fire personnel from the Formed Police Unit were also deployed to the area to control the crowd.
Briefing the media, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Divisional Officer (DO) Mr Prince Billy Anaglate said the Service received a distress call at 9:45 p.m. and immediately dispatched fire engines from the Industrial Area to fight the fire.
However, due to the haphazard nature of the structures, the officers could not easily access the place, a situation which made it very difficult to fight the fire.
Three additional fire engines had to be dispatched to help fight the fire, he said, adding that the fire fighters had to break some structures before they could access the place.
Mr Anaglate explained that there was illegal electrical wiring in the area, since almost 100 people had tapped electricity from one source.
“There would have been another disaster if the Fire Service had not swiftly responded to the call”, he said.
He said emergency personnel had prior information from the porters that some two men had tampered with the main switch, after which the fire started.
The two men, he said, disappeared into thin air as the incident unfolded.
Coincidentally, he said, the Service received the distress call about the Goil Filling Station explosion at Circle at exactly the same time of the evening, 9:45 p.m., last Wednesday. He added that the Service would investigate a possible connection.
Due to the problem of accessibility, Mr Anaglate said there was the need for the government to provide the GNFS with aero fire engines, which would help the Service fight fires more swiftly.
Source: Daily Graphic
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