The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) are not ruling out arson in the triple fires that swept through parts of the Central Market and Asafo Market both in Kumasi during the Easter holidays.
Both the Regional Commander, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Joshua Nguah, and the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, said the developments pointed to possible arson.
According to Mr Nguah, who spoke to journalists, even though it was early days yet, “arson could not be ruled out.”
He said for the contents of metal containers to burn, there should be an opening before the combustible materials in the containers could catch fire.
However, he said in the Sunday evening’s fire, the contents and the whole metal containers caught fire, thus beating one’s imagination.
The first of the fires was recorded at an area in the Central Market at about 10 pm last Friday.
Traders dealing in mainly second-hand clothes, maize, pepper and other consumables lost their wares in the inferno.
The second incident occurred late Saturday night at Asafo when fire destroyed mainly the shoemakers and leather works arena and some parts of the meat marketing shops close to the main entrance opposite the Asafo overhead bridge.
More than 200 shops and stalls are said to have been ravaged by the fire.
Personnel from the GNFS had a torrid time fighting a fire that had engulfed the Asafo Market.
That was due to the intensity of the fire and its location which made it very difficult for the personnel to access the scene to bring it under control.
Although the service had as many as three fire engines at the scene, it took the firefighters more than an hour before having access to the market to bring the fire under control.
The Sunday incident was the third within a spate of three days.
Mr Osei Assibey who also said arson was a possible cause hinted that the Ashanti Regional Security Council might soon meet over the issue.
According to him, per the briefing from the Regional Commander of the GNFS, the origin and intensity of the fire suggested that it could have been deliberately started by someone.
While acknowledging that he did not have the technical know-how to ascertain that, he nevertheless said arson could not be ruled out, particularly when the same facility recorded a fire incident the previous day.
Consequently, he said the Regional Minister would be informed for REGSEC to meet and find a solution to the occurrence.
Traders count losses
Some of the traders who managed to get to the scene attempted to force their way into the market in a bid to salvage some of their wares.
Personnel of the Ghana Police Service were also on hand to provide security and apprehend those who might want to take advantage of the incident and steal.
Those whose shops had caught fire wept over to loss.
A tailor who had his shop completely burnt said he just took a contract to sew school uniforms and had just completed the work awaiting delivery “only for me to experience this tonight”.