The Western Regional Fire Service Command has from January 2020 to date recorded a total of 189 fire out breaks as against 182 cases last year.

Out of the figure, five people lost their lives, while three sustained various degrees of injuries.

ACFO Gaddiel Napoleon Amoah Ebonyi, Regional Fire Service Commander, who announced this during a press briefing at Fijai, a suburb of Takoradi, called on the people in the Metropolis to be extra cautious in dealing with fire outbreaks.

He said it was unfortunate that people usually rushed to fire accident scenes without any precautionary measures and urged them to desist from the practice.

The Regional Fire Commander said the region also recorded six road traffic collision incidents, with one person sustaining injuries.

He said the Service would continue to create and sustain awareness of the public on fire prevention and safety precautions.

ACFO Ebonyi said the Service would continue to educate the public on basic fire fighting using fire extinguishers so as to reduce fire incidents to the barest minimum.

The Regional Commander explained that fire extinguishers are only useful in fighting fires at the initial stages of fire outbreaks.

“Once a fire is well developed, it requires professional hands to handle it,” he said.

The Regional Commander noted with concern that usually during their response reported incidence, they face the challenge of teeming crowds who either rush to the scene to catch a glimpse of the incident, scoop spilled fuel, or help extinguish the fire.

He said though they appreciate the efforts of the public to assist on such occasions, he, however,  advised them  to stay away from such scenes and desist from the practice of siphoning and scooping fuel from tankers/bulk road vehicles involved in road accidents.

The Regional Fire Service Commander said in a recent incident near the Takoradi Container Terminal (TACOTEL) involving the collision between a fuel tanker/bulk road vehicle and a locomotive, there was a rather disheartening rush for the spilled fuel by the public who trooped to the scene without any regard for the recommended physical distancing required by the Covid-19- containment measures, some of whom were women who had babies strapped to their backs.

ACFO Ebonyi explained that liquid fuels/petroleum products by their nature are highly inflammable and quickly form explosive vapors that can easily ignite from the least amount of heat energy.

He said the recommended minimum safety distance for domestic fires and light commercial premises where the fire may be classified as medium was 100 meters.

ACFO Ebonyi said for fires at heavy commercial and industrial premises or involving highly inflammable fuels, the recommended minimum safety distance is 500m.

He gave the assurance that the Service in collaboration with the Ghana Police would team up to strictly enforce adherence to the recommended safety distances at incident scenes and offenders would be arrested and prosecuted.