Fire outbreaks go beyond ordinary but...

BY: Arku Jasmine

Last Saturday, the Makola Shopping Mall became the latest casualty of the numerous fire outbreaks that have engulfed our commercial centres in recent times.

The recent fire outbreaks have become one too many that some people are beginning to impugn many interpretations to it, including spiritual and occult connotations.

The Daily Graphic, however, thinks that the nation will be running away from the reality if we succumb to such spiritual or occult reasoning when we know that safety standards are not being followed.

It is our view that we have become so reckless and careless that we are refusing to accept the painful truth that our markets are not up to the required safety and fire standards. Many a time, in our homes, offices and in the commercial centres, we leave electrical gadgets on without switching them off although there are explicit instructions to do so after close of work.

Even with the use of prepaid meters in our homes, many people still leave their electrical appliances on while they are out of the house. We are simply not imbibing the education on safety standards.

Last week, some traders at the Kumasi Central Market (a place which had witnessed countless fire outbreaks) confessed to the reckless wiring and how fire sparks easily ignited on the least opportunity.

How then can we attribute our carelessness to spiritual or occultism?

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has identified 285 major markets countrywide whose electrical systems need to be improved. The technical audit of the ECG listed illegal connections and the use of undersize conductors at the markets as the major faults.

We know that the government has taken certain steps, including the call on the security agencies to intensify investigations into the recent fires and anybody found to have committed arson prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has also decided to close all markets at 6 p.m. everyday so that its officials will have the opportunity to ensure that the traders follow safety standards.

We do not rule out anything, just as the President said recently that the fire outbreaks go beyond the ordinary, but we still insist that district assemblies that have oversight over the markets must update the standards to befit trading posts.

The Daily Graphic believes that the identification of those faults should catapult the various assemblies to team up with the ECG to find solutions to the problems immediately. We may continue to have more fire outbreaks in our markets if we fail to act on the report of the ECG.

It is sad that in some of the markets, the traders leave naked fire although there are bye-laws which prohibit cooking in the markets. Regrettably, officials of the district assemblies go round to collect money from the traders without ensuring that the safety standards are followed.

We think that some of these fire outbreaks can be prevented if we act more responsibly.