Personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service have been pelted with stones for their “late response” to fire which had engulfed parts of the Asamankesse market in the Eastern region.
Fire officers from the Kade fire station who sustained some injuries and damages on their fire engine had to run for their lives, leaving the inferno to destroy thousands of property.
Recounting what transpired to myjoyonline.com, an eyewitness Samuel Otu, a teacher with the Asamankesse Senior High School said the fire started about 6:30 pm on Tuesday.
Photo:A witness, Samuel Otu teaches at the Asamankesse Senior High School
Most of the community members had gathered at a location close to the market to watch the football match between Liverpool and Barcelona football clubs.
Without warning fire was seen at the Kwahu lane, an old house converted to stores within the central market. The affected area has an ambiance of a slum and located at the right side of the lorry station.
According to the eye witness account, when calls to the 192 Asamankesse fire station number was not successful, they walked to the fire station in Asamankesse, which is not very far from the market to invite them to put the fire off.
They felt heartbroken when they were told the fire engine has broken down and cannot be used to address the ongoing inferno which had by this time raised down most shops including cold stores, plastic shops, building materials and woodshops.
The Kade fire station that responded came an hour later. The delay incensed members of the community who responded by first hooting at them before pelting the officers with stones and clubs damaging their fire engine and inflicting injuries on some of them.
The police came to the scene.
According to a police report, which confirmed the eye witness account, the police came under attack from some irate youth at the scene of the fire.
According to the report cited by myjoyonline.com, about 25 rounds of ammunition were discharged into the air to send them running.
Service Vehicle GP 5100 also got the bonnet slightly dented. One officer called Seth Teye Wayo aged 27 and a civilian named Richard Yirenkyi aged 22 had severe injuries on the head and forehead respectively and were rushed to the Asamankese Government Hospital for treatment.
Soon police patrol teams from Akwatia and Adeiso arrived to help patrol the area and restore calm.
On his part, the Eastern regional fire service Public Relations Officer, Ignatius Baidoo confirming the damages to the fire engine cautioned the public against such crowd action which ultimately destroys public property
“Equipment and logistics must be preserved and maintained and here is the case the public is the one perpetuating this act. It is because of them that we have been called to come and serve,” he said.
The latest incidence of fire adds to the many others which have bedeviled many markets across the nation.
In April market fire destroyed properties in Kumasi once again, this time wreaking havoc at the popular Asafo Market.
On Friday, a similar fire incident destroyed stalls and other properties at the ‘Doctor Mensah’ section of the Kumasi Central Market.
Market fires are fairly common in the Kumasi metropolis. Last year, about 50 stalls at were razed at the Kumasi Central Market.
On January 16, myjoyonline.com reported on fire at the Odawna Market at the sprawling Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra. The fire started around 8 pm and destroyed shops and other properties. It took firefighters at least one-hour to bring the flames under control.
The pedestrian mall fire was barely 24 hours after fire and explosions hit the armoury belonging to the Ghana Armed Forces at Michel Camp Barracks in Tema also in the Greater Accra Region.