Nkrumah Circle fire victims count their losses
City authorities from the Ayawaso Central Municipal Assembly on Monday supervised the cleaning and clearing of the debris that was left from the inferno that razed stores and their wares within the neighbourhood of the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange (Circle) last Sunday.
The fire, which began around 1 p.m., gutted over 50 shops that deal in computers, cellular phones and other electronics and accessories, as well as cosmetics.
Although there was no casualty, the loss of property, both brick and mortar and other wares, runs into millions of Ghana cedis.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for the Ayawaso Central Constituency, Henry Quartey, was at the scene in the early hours of the day to commensurate with the affected shop owners.
He ordered that a list of all affected shops be compiled for further action to be taken.
The cause of the fire is yet to be known by the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) as investigations have begun.
An Officer from the Public Relations Department at the GNFS Headquarters, Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) II, Alex King Nartey, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said when the GNFS team was called to attend to the fire, the team at the Circle station was attending to another fire incident and so provisions had to be made to call other fire stations nearby to come to their aid.
Nonetheless, ADO II Nartey said its team did the best to stop the fire from spreading to other buildings and stores.
"As a service when we come on site, our main priority is to reduce damage. There is a filling station close by and our main goal was to do our very best to prevent the fire from reaching that side but we were able to save a lot of stores from the fire by a quarter to 5p.m. yesterday and I believe that is a good thing," he said.
ADO Nartey further cautioned shop owners to desist from cooking and bringing cylinders to their shops as it was one cause of the many fire outbreaks.
“We have been advising the public time and again to desist from cooking in such shops but it all falls on deaf ears. From our checks there is a chop bar in there and some shops have gas cylinders which is making the fire difficult to quench and so we are advising that they desist from using such commercial areas for such purposes,” he said.
When Graphic Online's Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye visited the scene, shop owners were seen cleaning up and salvaging the rest of the goods that were left from the fire.
While some shop owners were seen counting their losses, others were yet to visit their stores.
An eyewitness, who gave her name as Auntie Mercy, said she was in her shop when she began to feel a strange smell from the shop next to hers.
“ We realised the smell was from one of the bulbs from the next shop, so we took the bulb out and turned off our meter. The other shops did same, but the owner of the next shop after mine was not around so his meter was not off. By the time we realised there was smoke coming from the roof of his shop,” she narrated.
When they saw the smoke, Auntie Mercy said she and the other shop owners tried to put out the fire with soapy water but they could not quench it as the fire kept spreading.
She further narrated that they called the GNFS to come to their rescue but the team could not get there in time which caused the fire to completely burn down their shops.
“I was not able to retrieve a single item. I sell cosmetics and a whole lot of stuff and I just bought some items worth GHC3million yesterday and they are all gone,” she lamented.