Set up fire stations at major markets, says security coordinator

BY: Samuel K. Obour

A massive fire ravaged the Makola No 2 market in Accra recentlyGovernment should set up fire stations at major markets throughout the country to help contain the rampant fire outbreak , the Security Coordinator and Maintenance Manager at the Kaneshie Market Complex, Mr Michael Tsinowope, has said.

“I suggest all markets should also have their own security unit, they should not engage private security because of the lack of commitment on their part due to lack of motivation on the part of their employers, he said “.

“We do not regard security in this country but security plays a very important role, adding that if markets had their own fire units, they would exhibit genuine commitment in averting any unforeseen fire outbreak in those markets ,

Mr Michael Tsinowope was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the latest collaboration between the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and various major markets to avert the incidents of fire outbreaks in the country.

Mr Tsinowope said his outfit had collaborated with the GNFS to deploy two fire officers and police personnel to work with them in averting any possible fire outbreak following threat of arson in markets across the country.

Although at the time of the  visit to the Kaneshie Market Complex  there were no fire officers at post,  Mr Tsinowope said the officials  had been  assigned daily to the market to conduct  routine  fire patrol  before the market opened at 7 a.m. and continued till the market closed at 6 p.m.

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“The fire officers have been briefing us on daily basis after their routine checks about electric cables, gas leakages and other critical observations in the market after their routine check to help us avert any unforeseen fire outbreak, he said”

He said through the collaboration of the officers, the market had held three sensitisation forum for traders to educate them on the possible prevention of fire in the market.

Touching on the challenges facing the market, Mr Tsinowope said due to the theft of fire extinguishers by unscrupulous people,  the market had centralised the over 20 fire extinguishers instead of decentralising them to facilitate easy access in the event of an outbreak .

Mrs Dora Osabutey, a cosmetic trader at the Kaneshie market, confirmed the activities of the fire officers and the various steps being taken to avert a possible fire outbreak.

“Five years ago, the market ensured that all the stalls in the market transfer their switch to a vantage point to ensure easy access in the event of any fire outbreak, she said”

“We are fined an amount of five cedis if we leave our lights on after an outage.

Mr Nii Armah, a tailor at the market, told the Daily Graphic  that the market  had done  well by organsing sensitisation forum for traders at the market in addition to the routine fire patrol before the market opens and close .

Fire outbreaks have become rampant in the country since the beginning of the year. Statistics from the GNFS indicates that 2,201 outbreaks have been recorded nationwide from January to April, this year ,with major ones occurring at major markets in the country.