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Father-Of-Four Killed In Kokompe Fire   
 
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19-Jan-2015  
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Three fire outbreaks were recorded last Friday and Saturday in Accra and Kumasi, destroying property worth thousands of cedis, with the one in Accra claiming the life of a man in addition.

In Accra, Emelia Ennin Abbey, Charles Andoh & Phoebe Pappoe report that a 48-year-old business consultant was electrocuted as a result of a fire outbreak which ravaged a section of the Kokompe Market at Darkuman in Accra last Saturday night.

The man, identified as Abraham Kobina Bruce, was said to have attempted to prevent a burning electric pole from falling into his house , but one of the high tension wires broke loose from the pole and fell on Bruce who was also said to have helped put out the fire with water from his house, located close to the market.

He left behind four children with whom he lived in the house, together with his 80-year-old mother, who fell unconscious following the incident.

His body has since been deposited at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital morgue.

Some residents said the electric pole which electrocuted the deceased had tilted over a year ago.

A niece of the deceased, Ms Grace Bruce, said even though the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had been alerted to the situation, “nothing was done about it”.

She added that some residents called the ECG to switch off power in the area after the incident.
Kokompe fire

The fire outbreak, which started around 9 p.m., consumed close to 100 wooden structures being operated separately by auto mechanics, spare parts dealers, blacksmiths, food vendors, and an alcoholic bevereage seller.

It took the combined efforts of the Police, Fire Service personnel and the military to bring the fire under control.

Nine fire engines, four water tankers and a crane were used in fighting the fire.

It is the second time in three years that the Kokompe Market has been gutted by fire. The area is popular for the sale of second-hand car spare parts.
No property retrieved

Although the total cost of property destroyed could not be immediately ascertained, shop owners said they had stocked their shops a few days before and claimed to have lost thousands of Ghana cedis.

Narrating the incident to the Daily Graphic, a spare parts dealer, Mr Edward Dodzie Torkonoo, said the shop owners had gone home when the fire started and were, therefore, unable to retrieve their goods or wares.

He said they could only sell the debris as scrap to scavengers who were already having a field day at the scene.

Mr Torkonoo stated that since their shops were wooden structures, they had not been insured “and so we are left to our fate now”.
Dispute

The cause of the fire is yet to be established by the Ghana National Fire Service, but some of the victims suspect foul play.

A victim, Mr Ofie Sakyi, a blacksmith and leader of a group of about 30 traders, said some of the shop owners had been tenants in the area for over 30 years.

He added that the landlord, who recently succeeded his mother, had threatened to eject them if they did not pay goodwill of GH¢40,000 as a group, in addition to a monthly rent of GH¢15 per shop.

“We have been able to mobilise about GH¢13,000 for him but he gave us a month to vacate the area. We, therefore, sent the matter to the Rent Control office to intervene,” he said.

Mr Sakyi and other victims accused the landowner of allegedly setting the place ablaze because he was seen touring the place with some suspicious men two days before the incident.
Landlord

In a telephone interview, the landowner, Mr Evans Tettey, denied the allegation and explained that the men he had taken to the place were persons who had expressed interest in renting one of his shops.

“Why will I do that? Why will I burn the place? They burn rubbish there all the time; there are two chop bar operators and a blacksmith in the area. I have been holding meetings with them and telling them to put a stop to it,” he said.

Mr Tettey said he had told the traders to move from the site so that he could redesign the place.

He confirmed that the issue over the payment of the goodwill was before the Rent Control and said January 23, 2015 had been set for ruling on the matter.
Kumasi

Donald Ato Dapatem reports from Kumasi that the timely intervention of firefighters in two different parts of the Kumasi metropolis saved lives and property from rampaging fires.

The first was at the top of a two-storey building housing MTN masts on the Dr Mensah Road, and directly opposite the Kumasi Central Market. Three rooms, including the MTN office, were burnt.

There was, however, no casualty and the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Some of the cables connecting the masts to the control room of the MTN were destroyed by the fire.

It started around 5.30 p.m. last Friday and within 20 minutes the firefighters had brought it under control.
Shell fire

Less than 24 hours after the firefighters had doused the Dr Mensah Road fire, they had to rush to the Atonsu Shell Filling Station.

The firefighters at Atonsu, with support from their colleagues at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, saved the Garden City from another fire.

The two fire stations managed to confine the fire to only two electronic fuel pumps and a Ford Escape vehicle which was suspected to have sparked the fire on Saturday afternoon.

There are conflicting accounts from eyewitnesses, though.

One had it that a customer used a plastic container to buy fuel from the station, which burst into flames, while the other claimed that the Ford Escape, which was drawing fuel, started emitting sparks of fire that started the inferno.

According to a station officer at the Ashanti Regional Fire Office, Mr Dominic Kumi, the cause of the fire had not been found but investigations had commenced to ascertain it.

He cautioned residents to be extra- cautious with fire and always endeavour to call firefighters on time.
Fire outbreaks in January only

According to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), from January 1 to 7 this year, 160 fire outbreaks had been recorded nationwide.

The major occurrence was the Central Medical Stores fire in Tema in the Greater Accra Region which took several days for fire personnel to put out.

It is estimated that the state has lost over GHȼ230 million in the value of drugs and medical supplies.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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