Business at the Accra Mall has returned to normalcy after a ceiling collapse last Thursday raised concerns over structural integrity and safety of patrons of the sprawling shopping centre.
A visit to the mall on Sunday showed that business was in full swing, with shoppers throwing occasional curious glances at ongoing works to ensure no other ceilings posed immediate or future danger.
The car park was full, with only a few spaces around.
Four days after the collapse of part of the ceiling at the Accra Mall that caused injuries to three shoppers, managers of the mall have removed the barricade at the spot the incident happened.
Although the barricade has been removed and the pipes, metal bars and wires in the ceiling that came down re-fixed, the ceiling is yet to be covered.
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When the Daily Graphic visited the scene of the incident yesterday, wires and pipes running through the ceiling were exposed.
That notwithstanding, shops close to the site of the mishap had been opened, with shop owners attending to their business.
“We have been given an assurance that it will be fixed before the month ends. It was a scary incident but we are glad everything is back to normal. I’m glad customers didn’t take it too seriously to avoid the mall,” a shop attendant who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Daily Graphic.
However, another attendant said seeing the wires and pipes reminded her of the incident, adding: “Whenever I see the space staring at me like that, I get scared because the sound from the incident keeps playing in my mind.”
Shops close to the site of the incident have been opened and the baricades removed
Some shoppers who spoke to the Daily Graphic questioned the authorities checks on facilities such as the Accra Mall for their integrity.
A shopper, Ms Sandra Atuahene, said although the mall was a world of convenience, the incident would play in her mind for a long time to come.
“I live at Spintex, just five minutes from the mall. I heard of how terrorists attack malls and the sound my friends who were here described to me made it scary. We should be regularly checking these malls and be certifying them regularly. A ceiling caving in at a mall should be the last thing happening,” she said.
Another shopper, who only gave his name as Michael, said while he was not afraid coming to the mall, it was important that the authorities responsible for the structural integrity of such facilities be up and doing.
“We don’t want another Melcom disaster on our hands, and then we all scream and rant about the system not working. Another soul lost to incidents like this will be one too many. Who checks these things? How do we know that the facilities we are visiting are safe when there is nothing to show for it?” he asked.
The Melcom disaster is in reference to a six-storey building at Achimota rented by Melcom which collapsed on November 7, 2012, killing 13 people and injuring 81 others.
The Accra Mall, one of Accra’s finest landmarks, on October 11, 2018 suffered a major structural damage, resulting in injuries to three persons and a halt in commercial operations at a part of the mall.
The incident occurred when portions of the concrete ceiling in the walkway caved in.
Towards midday, there was a loud bang which some eyewitnesses thought was a bomb blast, compelling patrons of the mall to flee for their lives.
The quick run for cover for fear of a bomb blast was not surprising because of the terrorist attack on the West Gate Shopping Mall in Kenya on September 21, 2013.