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Fire guts houses in Tamale again

2009-01-13 22:23:12
This article has been read 1002 times.

Two houses at Zogbeli, in the Tamale Metropolis, were consumed by fire over the weekend, leading to the loss of several properties worth thousands of Ghana cedis. The two houses, which were completely burnt down between 13:00 and 15:00 hours GMT, have become the fourth and fifth houses to be destroyed by fire in the area, in less than a year.

The Chronicle can report that mercies of God were in abundance on the affected household, as there was no casualty. They were house numbers M176 and M401, all at Zogbeli.

Prominent among the victims were Alhaji Anass Musah, Tamale Central Constituency Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and Mr. Eric Baba, Northern Regional Cameraman of TV 3.

Eric Baba lost his computers, video camera, video editing gadgets, and other valuable items in the process. In all about 31 rooms were affected. The actual cause of the disaster was yet to be established.

When The Chronicle got to the scene, the residents of the area were in a high communal spirit, struggling to put off the fire at house number M176 (NPP Chairman’s house), together with fire fighting officers from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).

Some occupants of the house, and other eyewitnesses, who spoke with the paper, were concerned about the loss of property, and where the victims would lay their head. Unfortunately, some of the few belongings salvaged by the fire fighters were stolen by some heartless people. Some of the items stolen were TV sets, DVD players, cooking utensils and motorbikes.

Meanwhile, some residents, for putting up a good performance, commended two fire tenders that were deployed to bring the fire under control. It took them over two to three hours to quench the fire completely.

However, other eyewitnesses, who spoke to The Chronicle, accused the fire officers of arriving at the scene late. Reacting to the assertion, Mrs. Jemima Musah, Assistant Division Officer of the GNFS in Tamale, strongly denied the allegation.

According to her, it took the GNFS less than ten minutes to appear at the scene, due to the short distance between the service and the affected houses.

Mrs. Musah, who is a resident of the area, indicated that she deliberately ordered for the release of two tenders instead of one, and thus urged the people to at least appreciate that alone.

Before this incident, there were earlier reports of house burning, at Changli in the Tamale Central Constituency, between the supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the NPP.

Meanwhile, the GNA reports that the Tema Regional Office of Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) recorded 230 fire outbreaks in 2008, as compared to 277 in 2007.

The Tema Metropolitan Fire Station recorded 185 fire outbreaks, 28 by the Ashaiman Fire Station, Tema Industrial 9, Dodowa Fire Station 8, but the Ada station did not record any fire outbreak.

Ninety of the fire outbreaks were domestic, 12 industrial, 35 vehicular, 25 electrical, 26 commercial, 22 bushfires and 20 other fires, including those caused by burning of rubbish.

Mr. Prince Billy Anaglatey, Tema Regional Fire Public Affairs Officer, speaking to Ghana News Agency on Monday, said two people lost their lives, and several people sustained injuries during the period.

He said 46 of the fires were recorded in January, when most people out of excitement became careless in preventing avoidable fires during the Yuletide.

Mr. Anaglatey attributed the reduction in fire outbreaks, to intensified fire safety education, which included door-to-door education and fire prevention programmes in the markets.

He said a situational report on identified fire hazards in the various markets in Tema had been submitted to Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), and other stakeholders, for study and action.

Some recommendations in the report were the repositioning of structures on fire hydrants in the markets, controlling of illegal electrical connections, and provision of accessible routes to the markets during fire outbreaks, by the assembly.

Mr. Anaglatey advised the public against using metals and hairpins to replace faulty electrical fuses, as the practice could cause fire, explaining that such metals could not cut off excess heat energy to electrical gadgets. He urged them not to place gas cylinders inside kitchens, and not to switch on the light during gas leakage. On some challenges facing the Service, Mr. Anaglatey said it had only two fire tenders instead of five, and had to seek support from fire departments at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), and Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).


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