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Year of Fires   
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The year 2013 is one in which Ghana recorded the greatest number of fire outbreaks, some of them politically flavoured.

The President enhanced the political flavour when he pointed accusing fingers at the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for being behind the fires, in their bid as he noted, to paint government black—an accusation he thankfully withdrew many months afterwards.

The fires had become conundrums, with the President inviting some American experts to probe them, even as questions were posed about the importance of the novelty.

Ghana yesterday woke up to the shocking news of fire gutting the Judgment Debt Commissioner’s Office within the Old Parliament House building, just when many were beginning to forget the fires that characterized most parts of the ending year.

It was interesting to hear someone remark, “why must it be the Judgment Debt Office which should suffer a fire outbreak at this time?” upon hearing news of the blaze which destroyed documents pertaining to the sittings of the Commission so far.

It was an expression of frustration shared by most Ghanaians who heard the news. The cynicism which underscored the reactions was informed by how such strange fires usually target places where critical documents are stored.

It is as though the Judgment Debt Commission fire was intended to dramatically end a year which has been dotted with weird infernos, one of which pitched the Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Alfred Vanderpuije, against victims of the Kantamanto Market.

Be that as it may, yesterday’s fire should be probed sufficiently by local fire officers, to establish the real cause without necessarily inviting Australian fire experts. This would put paid to the damning speculations that the fire has already triggered in town. Unsubstantiated as these are, the speculations have the propensity to raise tension.

It is a relief to hear those in charge of the Commission’s documents assure us that there is a back-up of the documents.

We hope that the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) will delve into it sufficiently for us to know what really sparked the fire.

Previous fires have been followed by announcements of investigations to establish the cause or causes, but these have not led to measures taken to obviate future occurrences.

The year 2013 will arguably go down in history as the worst in terms of fire outbreaks: it is instructive, therefore, that even in its twilight, fire is breaking out in high profile places such as the location under review.

Addressing the challenge of accessibility of fire tenders to fire scenes and the ability to put out blazes before they cause havoc has not been tackled adequately. The GNFS would be far away from putting out fires timely if these challenges are not addressed.

We hope the report from investigations into the Judgment Debt Commission fire would not be withheld from public view because of national security reasons as did the Makola Market fire.
Source: Editorial/Daily Guide

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