Firefighters who battled Friday night’s fire at the Makola Shopping Mall, in Accra, managed to prevent the torching of about 2,000 shops and make-shift structures.
“We were able to save about 2000 shops and the Electricity Company of Ghana’s substation, near the Mall from burning,” Kofi Forson, deputy director of operations of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) told the media, in an interview.
About 200 shops and makeshift structures on the first and second floors of the Mall’s block, opposite the Ghana Law School were, however, burnt by the fire, whose cause is under investigation.
It took about four hours to bring the fire, which was said to have started a few minutes after 2300 hours, under control.
Forson said the fire personnel got to the scene a few minutes after they received the call reporting the outbreak, but they faced challenges of accessibility as the shops were locked, and some makeshift structures had blocked the passageways.
The fire became intense due to the large amounts of flammable items, such as plastics, cosmetics and wigs in the shops, he explained.
A combined team of some 70 firefighters were mobilised to bring the fire under control.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Kwatsoe Sackey, the Accra Metropolitan chief executive, who visited the scene to assess the extent of damage, advised shop owners to take fire education seriously, and implement preventive measures.
Market fires are perennial in Ghana.
However, there are no specific statistics on the number of fires that have gutted markets in Ghana as the numbers fall under the GNFS’s classification of commercial fires.
Last year, there were 986 recorded commercial fires in Ghana.