Building collapses, killing businessman

Officials from the security services searching for the dead bodies.

Officials from the security services searching for the dead bodies.

A PROMINENT Ghanaian businessman, Prosper Adablah, died instantly when a three-storey building he was constructing with a car park beneath it, collapsed on him and 20 workers, including a female at the Cantonments, near the residence of President John Dramani Mahama’s at about 1.15pm on Saturday.

A beam fell on Mr Adablah leading to his death. A team of rescuers recovered another body yesterday afternoon, bringing the number of the dead to two.

It took the combined efforts of the Counter Terrorism Unit of the Ghana Police Service led by Superintendent, Mr. Raymond Adofiem, the military, Ghana National Fire Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to rescue the others from the rubble. They were rushed to the 37 Military Hospital for urgent treatment.

Ten out of the 20 injured were said to have been treated and discharged at about 7pm same day (Saturday), while the rest are in a stable condition responding to treatment.

This is the second time in three months a storey building has collapsed at the Cantonments area in the La Dadekotopon municipality of the Greater Accra Region, resulting in fatalities. One person died when a building near the Amercian Embassy collapsed about three months ago.

Mr. Ezekiel Abaitey of Westec Security, a private security firm, protecting a similar building owned by the deceased and presently occupied by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Africa Centre of Excellence (ACE) told this reporter that Mr. Adablah came to the workplace to pay the workers, as had been the case on Saturdays.

He said upon seeing some of the workers who had come for their money on that fateful day, the deceased who was in the car park under the building with other workers mostly Ghanaians and some Togolese, called his secretary (a lady) who was also in the building to pay them.

According to the security man, no sooner had Mr. Adablah given the instruction to the secretary to effect payment, than the building which had developed some cracks with weak pillars supporting it, started coming down.

Mr. Abaitey, who claimed he was standing close to the structure, said he nearly went in but something struck him not to.”My brother I was saved by God; the moment I made an attempt to go in, something told me to stop and not long I saw the building coming down.

“I shouted to draw the attention of the workers who were then engaged in plastering and tiling, but it was too late. I, however, managed to push away five people who were also standing close to the building waiting to be paid,” he said.

Four of the workers who did not come to work that day but were at the scene later, upon hearing the information, told The Ghanaian Times that they had constructed the three-storey building within a period of three months because some Americans were anxiously waiting to rent the property.

Mr. Joseph Nii Afotey-Agbo, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, who rushed to the scene when he received a phone call about the disaster, said that it was high time the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies intensified their operations by closely monitoring high rise buildings that were springing up in obscure corners in the national capital, Accra, and ensure their proper documentation and the use of quality building materials.

Experts with technical know-how in building and construction, attributed the collapse of the storey building to structural defects and quickly identified the use of inferior building materials as the cause of the disaster.

By Castro Zangina-Tong

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