The fire destroyed 74 shops, containers and stalls and it took personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) more than four hours to completely put it out.The incident is said to have begun a few minutes after 1 a.m. last Sunday and was finally quenched at around 5:55 a.m.
Interestingly, barely less than 24 hours after the incident, some of the shop owners have already begun re-erecting new structures to resume business.
They claimed they had to repay loans they had contracted and could not wait for the government or city authorities to finish with investigations and reconstruct their stores before they go into business.
According to them, the wait on the authorities could take forever “and we have families to take care of and bills to pay.”
One shop owner who gave her name as Maame Serwaa told the Daily Graphic that she had to get back to business quickly since staying at home was not an option.“I have to pay my creditors at the end of the month and also fend for my family. Staying at home will not solve my problems so I have to accept what has happened and move on,” the woman who deals in cooking oil and rice explained.
Another shop owner, Kofi Manu, said even though the right thing may be to allow investigations into the incident to be completed before getting back to business, similar exercises in the past after fire outbreaks did not yield any result.
“Ideally, we should have allowed the officers to complete their investigation, but it will come to nothing as those who fell victim in similar fire outbreaks in the previous years and just last April have had no solution to their predicament.
“After all was said and done, they had to look for money to start their businesses on their own. We have financial responsibilities we need to take care of so we can’t stay away from work,” he said.
Fire outbreak again
This is the second time this year that the Central Market is experiencing a fire incident. The first one occurred on Good Friday, April 19, 2019 around the same Dr Mensah area, close to the second-hand clothes sellers section and destroyed wares worth millions of Ghana cedis.
Wooden shops and wares
Items destroyed in the latest fire included foodstuff, mainly grains, flour, vegetable oils, as well as cosmetic products and clothes stored in the shops, many of which were constructed of wood and served as workplaces for some seamstresses who were also affected.
Cause of latest fire
When the Daily Graphic team visited the scene of the incident officials from the Ghana National Fire Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) were present to assess the impact and damage caused.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer of GFNS, Assistant Divisional Officer Grade One (ADOI) Mr Desmond Ackah, said preliminary investigations pointed to an electrical fault, but added quickly that “we are yet to confirm that though, as investigations were still ongoing.”
However, he said, the area was full of electrical lines that were bare, meters that were overloaded as well as “indiscriminate illegal connections”.
ADOI Ackah said before the fire incident last Sunday, a corn mill in the area had, a week earlier experienced a burst of fire which, caused some amount of destruction.
The Manhyia South Sub-metro NADMO Coordinator, Mr Roland Oduro, who was at the scene of the incident, described the situation as very sad.