Fresh Fire Razes Down Kumasi Market

TRADERS AND shopkeepers watched in disbelief as fire destroyed parts of the Kumasi Central Market in the Ashanti Regional capital, ravaging fully stocked shops, in the early hours of yesterday.

The fierce fire, which started at about 5:00 am, according to eyewitnesses, gutted the Roman Hill side of the market opposite Solid Fm, and swept through about 20 stores stocked with various items, including satellite hardwares, cloths and plastic materials.

“Within a few minutes the whole place was alight and smoke was coming out of the eaves,” said a neighbour, James Obeng, while speaking to DAILY GUIDE, as personnel of the Ghana Fire Service poured water on the smoky debris.

According to Mr. Obeng, he and other residents nearby woke up to a giant cloud of black smoke outside their homes as the rampaging fire began to rip through the wares.

The fire was reported to have lasted for two hours, but no casualties were recorded. Some of the victims complained that their businesses and livelihoods had been destroyed, and hoped government would help to restore them to their former positions.

The cause of Tuesday’s fire is not yet known, but the Ashanti Regional Minister, Peter Anarfi, said an investigation was underway to establish the exact cause.

He expressed sympathy to the victims and assured them of government’s support, pointing out that personnel of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) would assess the extent of damage and support the affected traders.

The Kumasi Central Market is one of Africa’s biggest markets. Various portions of it have been gutted by fire within the past six years and plans are underway to redevelop the place, which is overcrowded with a haphazard layout, sometimes making it difficult for fire fighters to easily get to the blaze.

Investigation committees had recommended that access to the market must be improved to allow for emergency services, but reorganising it is fraught with challenges as resistance from the traders is often absolute and well organised.

From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi

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