The new Kejetia Market, dubbed “Dubai”, in Kumasi, in Ashanti Region, which cut fire on Wednesday, will be closed down for the next three days, starting from Friday 17 March, 2023.
This is as a result of a meeting between the management of the market and leadership of the traders within the facility.
However, shops were opened after 12 noon on Thursday for traders within the market to assess the condition of their shops, after the fire destroyed 54 shops, and items running into thousands of Ghana Cedis.
From Friday to Sunday, however, persons who have been directly affected by the fire would be allowed to access their shops for only three hours, as those who deal in perishable goods would be given preferential treatment to check the state of their goods or items.
There would be no trading activities within the period that the market would be closed down.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, called for the market to be shut for three days until a thorough assessment of the incident was done.
Mr Osei-Mensah also requested the setting up of a committee to probe the circumstances that led to the fire outbreak.
Among other things, he wanted the committee to establish why the sprinkler did not switch on automatically when the fire started and why the smoke detectors did not work effectively.
The fire started from the third floor of the market around 4:30 pm on Wednesday, and spread to other parts.
The inferno gutted the third floor of the market, where tyres and other vehicle related items, pellets, carbides, as well as other inflammable materials were mostly sold.
It was quite a terrifying scene as young people and old men and women were seen scaling down the market to safety with the support of a rope hanged from the third floor of the facility, as thick smoke engulf the entire place.
A mother and baby were said to have collapsed due to the heavy smoke while another woman was seen jumping out of the building to save her life.
About eight fire tenders were deployed by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to the scene, but by the time of arrival, the fire had already ravaged a section of the market.
Meanwhile, officers from the GNFS are blaming the managers of the New Kejetia Market for not putting in place proper fire safety measures to prevent an escalation.
Speaking to journalists at the Market, Thursday morning, the Ashanti Regional Fire Commander, ACFO1 Henry Giwah, said his outfit has on several occasions written to the managers to rectify fire safety defects to no avail.
But, the Managing Director of the facility, Kofi Duffour, rebuffed the claim, saying all necessary fire safety measures have been put in place.
He said “currently, we cannot speak to the cause of the fire, and it is only right to allow the fire service to finish its investigation. They will give us a report that we would make available to you. ”
The incident occurred barely a month after Sergeant Owusu Asante Baafi, together with his wife and three -month-old baby boy, were killed in a fire outbreak at Apromasi in the Ashanti Region.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI