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Fire guts Tema Timber Market - 3 Shops, several wooden structures destroyed

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Fire guts Tema Timber Market - 3 Shops, several wooden structures destroyed
The burnt market

Fire yesterday swept through the Timber Market in Tema destroying properties worth thousands of cedis.

There was no casualty.

Three sawmill shops and heavy equipment at the Timber Market were destroyed by the fire. Between 50 and 100 wooden structures occupied by squatters located behind the sawmill shops, among other personal belongings, including television sets, and other electrical appliances were gutted by the fire.

According to some traders at the market, the fire started at about 12 midday yesterday.

It is not immediately known the cause of the fire, but traders were seen helpless as they tried to salvage what was left of their structures which have been destroyed.

Cause, response

When the Daily Graphic visited the scene, some shop owners and sympathisers were seen clearing the debris and discussing the impact of the disaster on their livelihoods while personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) were also busy extinguishing the fire

A victim of the disaster, John Ekow Mensah Barnes, told the Daily Graphic that the fire started when a steady wind carried embers from the burning of sawdust near one of the sawmills and that resulted in the fire.

He said those who were around attempted to douse the fire, while a distress calls were made to the GNFS.

He was full of commendation for the firefighters for preventing the fire from spreading to adjoining shops.

Emergency response

The Head of Public Relations of the GNFS, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Timothy Osafo Affum, told journalists that the GNFS received a distress call some few minutes after 12 noon. He said 10 fire tenders were deployed by the GNFS, including two from the Fire Brigade of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to fight the inferno at the timber market.

Mr Affum said it took the personnel about an hour to finally quench the fire. He added that if his men had not arrived at the scene on time, the situation would have been more disastrous because the fire would have engulfed the area.

The Chief Fire Officer, Julius Kuunuor Aalebkure, who was at the fire scene, praised the personnel for their swift response to the emergency.

Eviction

The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Tema, Yohane Amarh Ashitey, said the assembly together with the NADMO would take inventory of the disaster and put in place strategies to offer some form of assistance to the victims in the interim while steps would be put in place to evict squatters who had settled at unapproved places in the metropolis.