3 Fire disasters recorded in Accra, Tema & Kumasi (Monday, January, 14, 2012)

With Rose Darko, Tema & Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi

TWO separate fire outbreaks occurred at the BBC Industrial Company in Tema and ECOMOG, a slum near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, on Saturday, leaving in their wake massive destruction of properties valued at millions of cedis.

No casualties were recorded in both fires.

The fire at the BBC, a paint manufacturing company, was the more intense of the two fires and it took personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) more than 12 hours of intense fire-fighting  to bring the inferno under control.

At ECOMOG, about 500 ramshackle structures were razed down by the fire.

The fire at BBC, which started about 5.30 p.m., proved difficult to fight as a result of the chemicals stored in the factory and which kept exploding while the firemen were at work, sending huge fireballs into the sky and spreading fire to other parts of the factory.

When the Daily Graphic returned to the area about 6 a.m. on Sunday, fire personnel from Tema, the Trade Fair Centre in Accra, the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA)) were still at work.

The Lebanese-owned company, which manufactures Leylac paints, also had on its premises a warehouse for mining equipment, tyres, a sachet producing factory and residential quarters which were all destroyed.

Also destroyed were three articulated trucks loaded with an undisclosed quantity of chemicals, three brand new unregistered articulated trucks, among other things.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic at the scene of the fire on Sunday, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Prince Billy Anaglate, said the service had a call about 6.23 p.m. on Saturday that fire had gutted the factory, saying the service responded promptly.

He said the first fire tender to arrive at the scene was totally overwhelmed by the fire and it called for reinforcement.

Mr Anaglate said the fire tenders had difficulty refilling, while the workers of BBC refused to divulge any information on the fire to assist the firemen in their work.

 He said although the fire had been brought under control as of 6 a.m. on Sunday, fire personnel would not rest on their laurels until the fire was totally extinguished, adding that since it was a hydrocarbon fire, there was the need to extinguish it totally to prevent a flare up later.

He said the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

The caretaker Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, and the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Kempes Ofosuware, were at the scene when the Daily Graphic got there on Sunday. 

With regard to the fire at ECOMOG, the residents said persistent power cuts resulted in the devastating fire that reduced their homes to ashes.

A day after the fire, residents were still counting their losses as they sifted through the charred remains of their homes and businesses in a bid to salvage items they thought could still be of use.
The inferno, which started in a kiosk about 1.30 p.m., spread quickly to adjacent structures, destroying about 500 of them.

Residents of the community alleged that the fire started shortly after some officials from the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had gone there to work on a faulty electricity pole.

 “The fire started just minutes after the light came on, after it had gone off in the night,” Michael Osei, who claimed he lost his entire savings in the fire, told the Daily Graphic.

As a result of the lack of alleyways in the community, GNFS personnel could not gain access to the fire.

To gain access to the source of the fire, the squatters had to break down some of the structures and pour water on the fire.

 With most of the pipelines disconnected by the Ghana Water Company because of illegal connections, it was difficult for residents to get water in the neighbourhood to put out the fire.

Within the last four years, there have been four fire outbreaks in the area, rendering people homeless and resulting in the loss of properties worth thousands of cedis.

On July 21, 2008, fire “devoured” more than 60 structures in the area, leaving many homeless, while on January 19, 2012, a similar scene played out when fire reduced a number of shanty structures in the area into a pile of rubble.

Another fire incident happened on June 26, 2012.

Another fire incident occurred yesterday at the Suame Magazine in Kumasi, which left 18 shops destroyed.
Most of the shops destroyed by the blaze were filled with electrical and motor vehicle equipment.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started about 1 p.m., a time many of the shops were closed.
As of the time of filing this report, it was not immediately known what started the fire.

Firemen from the GNFS were called in and three fire tenders were at hand to battle the blaze.
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene about 2.35 p.m., the fire fighters had brought the fire under control.


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