The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA), has expressed their concern over the inability of the Ghana National Fire Service to be effective and efficient in the discharge of its duties.
According to the Union, fire outbreaks in markets that end up destroying goods and property running into millions have become one too many because the Fire Service failed to respond on time or blamed their incompetence on faulty machinery.
President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng speaking about yesterday’s Makola fire said, “When you look at how our institutions function in this country, you will be tempted to say we have an institutional breakdown because they are not efficient. The Fire Service is just across the street from the Makola building which got burnt but they couldn’t do anything about it which is rather sad.”
He expressed his surprise at the excuses of the department which blamed their inability to fight the fire on time, on non-functional fire hydrants in the central business district (CBD). The unhappy GUTA president said, “Are they not supposed to engage in regular checks to ensure those fire hydrants work all the time? Do they not have an inspection team that is responsible for checking these things? The Ghana Fire Service did not do the needful and the institution is not being run effectively and efficiently. I am very sad at the turnout of events.”
He called for a probe into the activities of the Ghana Fire Service especially as they have allowed for a number of market fires to get out of hand with similar excuses. “If we don’t probe their activities, they will keep failing us. They need to make sure fire hydrants are operational all the time. The authorities involved need to make sure the right thing is done all the time. This is not the 1st or 2nd time this is happening. They did not act in a timely fashion and that is why we recorded the extent of damage we did with the Makola Fire. A probe is all we need now to ensure this never happens again.”
Dr. Joseph Obeng assured victims of the fire that the Union will work with the government to ensure they receive the necessary help to bounce back and insisted a committee be set up to probe this fire. “We also want all reports from previous fires to be presented to the committee so they thoroughly go through and find ways of controlling them.”
He made this known in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.
The fire started in the three-storey building near the Makola Market around 9am.
The building houses different shops in the central business district (CBD) of Accra.
Personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) arrived at the scene in an attempt to douse the fire but the lack of access to water in the central business district (CBD) of Accra was a major hindrance in battling Monday morning’s fire outbreak.
Even though there are fire hydrants in the central business district, there was no water in them at the time of fighting the fire according to reports, and fire tenders that were mobilized for the firefighting had to trek to refill at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and its environs.