The Ashanti Regional Command of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) yesterday foiled what they suspect to be arson at the Kumasi Central Market. The suspected arsonist (s) succeeded in setting fire to a pile of combustible wares in one of the stalls near a gate in an area called ‘18 lane’ in an attempt to burn down the market or portions of it.
It took the timely intervention of the Fire Service - which now has a task force to prevent such incidents in the market - to douse the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjoining stalls.
The Ashanti Regional Fire Commander, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Mr Semekor Kwaku Fiadzo, said around 12:36 a.m. last Tuesday, the fire patrol team at the Central Market saw a billowing smoke from one end of the market and quickly moved there.
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He said the team detected that one of the stalls that had very combustible items in it was on fire and was spreading quickly to adjoining stalls.
DCFO Fiadzo said a fire engine stationed close to the market to quell such incidents was quickly deployed there and within five minutes, the fire was put out.
Mr Fiadzo said items retrieved from the scene gave credence to initial suspicion that “we are dealing with an arson case here.”
He said preliminary investigations showed that the suspect (s) may have used fuel in a plastic container, which they sprinkled on the pile of items at the stall before setting fire to it.
According to him, because the suspected arsonist (s) did not have complete access to the inner perimeters of the market, they had to operate from outside the gate.
The fire patrol team found 11 match sticks and the lid of plastic container that smelled of petrol.
Mr Fiadzo said the team suspected that the arsonists might have used the lid to sprinkle the petrol before setting the fire and later throwing the bottle into the fire.
The suspected arson was further heightened because the burning stall had no electrical connections to cause them to pin the cause to an electrical fault.
DCFO Mr Fiadzo said the burnt items had since been forwarded to the Regional Police Crime Office for further analysis and investigation.
Ashanti Regional Fire Commander, Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Mr Semekor Kwaku Fiadzo
Mr Fiadzo said owing to perennial market fires in Kumasi, the command had decided to form market fire task force and also have a fire engine permanently stationed at the market to respond to any emergency.
Besides that, he said, the fire service had also trained security men in the market in fire prevention and detection.
DCFO Mr Fiadzo stated that the preventive measures were paying off and appealed to the police to get rid of such miscreants in the system to safeguard people's investment.
Some of the goods salvage by the traders