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Makola No. 2 fire: Eight people arrested

Following the fire outbreak at the Makola Number Two Market, Agbogloshie, eight security personnel have been arrested to help the police in their investigations into the incident.

The suspects, whose identities were not disclosed for security reasons, are being kept at the Greater Accra Regional Police Command.

All of them are from the Linparko Security Company in Accra.

An explosion which occurred in one of the stores is suspected to have resulted in the fire outbreak.

The fire, which was said to have started about 7:45 p.m., destroyed provisions, confectionery, cosmetic products, clothes, bags of sugar, large quantities of rice and other items worth millions of cedis.

But for the intervention of personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the fire, which was brought under control at 2 a.m. yesterday, could have destroyed more property.

While the fierce fire raged at the market, another fire broke out in a single wooden structure close to the Old Fadama Police Station, resulting in the death of a kayayo (head porter).

The deceased, Surya Hamza, was burnt to death while she was asleep. Her body has been deposited at the Police Hospital mortuary.

The Makola Market fire brings to two the number of fire outbreaks recorded at the market in three years.

According to Elikim Mawugbe, who claimed to be an eyewitness, personnel of the GNFS faced difficulty entering the market and that caused the fire to spread to the other parts of the market.

She claimed that fire officers who got to the scene first were unable to fight the fire as a result of the difficulty in accessing the market.

The Accra Regional Police Crime Officer, Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Frank Adu Fati, told the Daily Graphic that the eight suspects would assist the police to conduct investigations into the fire outbreak.

He claimed that the eight were arrested because they were the first to have spotted the fire.

According to Mr Fati, the suspects claimed to have spotted the fire after they had allegedly heard a massive explosion from a hair dressing salon within the market.

He said the suspects also admitted to have made attempts to put out the fire with an extinguisher before alerting the GNFS.

When the Daily Graphic visited the scene yesterday, fire personnel were still at work trying to put out the fire, which was still burning in some parts of the market.

Some victims of the fire had gathered at the main entrance to the market and were impatiently waiting for the fire personnel to finish their work so that they (victims) could go in and know their fate.

While they waited, some wailed, while others called on God to get them out of the predicament.

“God, if we have committed any sin as a country, please have mercy on us. Please do not turn your back on us. Let not our enemies smile while we bow down our heads in tears,” Mr Kwesi Owusu, a victim of the fire, prayed.

According to Mr Owusu, popularly known as Wofa, almost all the items in his two cosmetic shops had been destroyed by the inferno.

Other victims of the fire heaped curses and insults on “the alleged suspects” whom they claimed were the same people behind the Kantamanto Market fire.

Madam Patience Debrah, a second-hand clothes seller, believed the incident was not an accident but “a calculated attempt by some people who want to destroy Ghana”.

“Why shouldn’t l accuse people? First, it was Kantamanto, then the Kinbu Market, followed by the Konkomba Market and now Makola. God will punish them one by one,” she said.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the GNFS, Mr Billy Anaglate, said the effect of the fire would have been more disastrous if the fire officers had not intervened.

He conceded that there had been difficulty accessing the market but said the officers were technically astute enough to work their way around it.

Meanwhile, the government has tasked the National Security Coordinator to fast-track investigations into the numerous fire outbreaks at markets across the country.

There were about six fire outbreaks at major markets in Accra in the first quarter of 2013.

Some government officials and a number of individuals now suspect the market infernos to be cases of arson.

A Deputy Information Minister, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, told Citi News that the President was concerned about the development because the series of fires “create room for some concern, and based on that the President directed the National Security to commence investigations”.

He sympathised with all those who had fallen victim to the fires and said the government could only urge the National Security to carry out investigations as quickly as possible because it was becoming too much.

He stressed that the government is “really, really concerned”.