Mysterious fire outbreaks have become synonymous with markets in Ghana. Market fires have been frequent all over the country’s markets for a couple of years now, compelling the government to seek help from international investigators.
These fires have cost losses running into tens of millions of Ghana cedis and in some cases have killed people.
There seems to be constant fears among traders in Ghanaian markets of possible fire outbreaks which sources are often unknown, but occasionally attributed to poorly done electrical wiring, accidental fires and lately arson.
But traders at the Kaneshie market, one of the largest in Accra, say they feel safe and confident that the market won’t be part of the statistics.
According to Accra Markets Limited, managers of the complex, there are almost 10,000 tenants comprising owners of stores, stalls, slabs, squatters, shopping malls, banks, clinics, pharmacies, insurance firms and communication centres.
When ghanabusinessnews.com reporters visited and spoke to traders and managers of the market, they were optimistic that there are enough measures to protect the market from any possible fire outbreak.
The traders have confidence in the measures put to check possible fires, but they also have faith in God, that the market won’t catch fire. “We know that God will not let fire outbreak happen here. Many traders go for loans so it’s worrisome if one’s goods are burnt by fire,” Auntie Linda, a 52-year-old trader at the market said.
The traders and managers, Accra Markets Limited (AML), say security officers always patrol the market to check on fire safety.
Patience Oko, 40, who sells slippers known in Ghana as ‘charley wortey’, said there has not been fires at the Kaneshie market because of the safety standards upheld there.
According to 30-year-old John Bonney, who sells rice and vegetable oils, the Ghana Fire Service officials visit the market often to educate occupants regularly on fire safety. “We know such fire outbreaks won’t happen to us but we pray to almighty God to protect us,” Mr Bonney said. And he has been trading at the market for 11 years.
Grace Koomson, 53, has been doing business at the market for 33 years has confidence in the security system. She says, “the security team here run on shift which prevents arsonists from setting the market on fire.”
In an interview with the Administrative Manager of Accra Markets Limited (AML), Mrs Mabel Anita Aihoon, she said the security department of the market looks around for naked fires all the time.
“We have intensified measures to prevent a fire outbreak. We recently did a fire prevention campaign in collaboration with the Police and the Fire Service,” Mrs Aihoon told ghanabusinessnews.com.
“For the food vendors, we especially do trainings for them…we tell them to have fire extinguishers and a bucket of sand in case a fire breaks out they put it off,” Mrs Aihoon said.
“These naked fires, you may not know…sometimes your cylinder may be leaking. So our security team checks all these things,” she adds.
The three floor market complex is said to be the nation’s premier modern market with all the facilities and amenities to ensure a comfortable trading atmosphere.
There is also a District Police Station opposite the market.
AML says daily visitors to the market to transact all types of business are in excess of 10,000.
By Ekow Quandzie