Fire on Wednesday morning gutted seven shops close to the Wa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex here in the Upper West Region.
Wares ranging from building materials to food items worth thousands of Ghana Cedis got destroyed by the fire.
According to eye witnesses, the fire started around 10am but they were unable to reach the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) on time because they did not know how to contact them on phone and had to move to the station to inform them of the fire.
On arrival, the fire had already spread to other shops, although residents and shop owners attempted to quench it with water and sand.
It took the Fire Service several minutes to put out the fire with two fire engines and one water tanker.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, the Public Relations Officer for the GNFS at Wa, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) Martin Bakobie stated that the dousing took longer than expected because there was no functional fire hydrant nearby to source water from to complement what they brought.
He said, according to the affected traders, the fire started from a pile of woods packed behind the shops supposedly belonging to the contractor who was undertaking the construction of the sports complex.
He was of the view that someone might had carelessly started a fire close by, knowing very well the environment and weather was not favourable for fire due to the pile of woods and shops around.
“We keep telling people that we are in the dry season, and so they should be careful with naked fire as it can cause mayhem. Fire prevention is a shared responsibility,” he stated.
ADO Bakobie recounting the challenge they went through with having to go back to the station for water to quench the fire, charged citizens to demand for relevant amenities from the leaders, saying ” there is no fire hydrant in the whole of this area, we had to go back to the station to get water and when we came back the fire had escalated again.”
He urged residents to adhere to safety fire principles in the dry season to prevent needless fire outbreaks, whereas the traders in turn, appealed to the Fire Service to investigate the matter to identify the cause of the fire.
FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA