Fire gutted over 200 shops and makeshift structures at the Makola Shopping Mall in Accra, forcing authorities to temporarily close down the Mall to enhance proper assessment of the situation.
The fire started at around 11:00pm last night, Friday, October 20, 2023 and was brought under control within four and half hours by personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS). It is however not clear what started the fire but the GNFS says it is still investigating the cause of the fire.
Items destroyed include wigs, perfumes, cosmetics and jewelleries among other items running into thousands of Ghana cedis. There were no casualties.
Briefing the media on the situation, the Deputy Director, Operations of GNFS, Chief Fire Officer, Kofi Forson explained that fire personnel had a distress call around 11:24pm on Friday night and because there was a fire station located around the Mall, in less than two minutes fire personnel got to the scene to bring the situation under control.
He said because the fire was intense they further called for reinforcement with more fire fighting equipment.
“In all nine fire fighting appliances were used with 70 fire personnel trying to bring the fire under control; they forced open the padlocks locking the main entrance to the Mall, using special equipment and got access to the spot where the incident occurred” he stated.
Mr Forson said the personnel were able to salvage over 2,000 stores including make shift structures stressing that an Electricity Company of Ghana(ECG) sub-station which was ten metres away from the Mall was not affected by the fire due to the timely intervention of the personnel.
“The challenges we had was accessibility to the trouble spot because of the make shift structures which have almost blocked all the alleys making it difficult to smoothly fight the fire” he stated.
The Greater Accra Regional Commander of the GNFS, Assistant Chief Fire Officer(ACFO I) Roberta Aggrey-Ghanson explained that the cause of the fire is under investigation.
She said the explosions heard during the fire outbreak were as a result of some cosmetic products that were exposed to excessive heat and burning during the fire.
The Mayor of Accra, Elizabeth K.T. Sackey who visited the Mall to ascertain the extent of damage, said the Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA) would wait for a report from the GNFS to determine the next line of action.
The Mayor therefore appealed to traders to always take precautionary measures to prevent the occurrences of similar fire outbreaks in the future.
While some traders were counting their losses, eye witnesses stressed the need for lasting solution to fire outbreaks including addressing the siting of make shift structures to ensure smooth access to stores in case of disasters. – Graphic online