The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) says it cannot be held responsible for the new Kejetia market fire following failure on the part of managers of the facility to adhere to safety regulations.
According to the GNFS, it directed managers of the market through a letter to renew its fire certificate and as well work on some defects on the facility before they could issue them the certificate.
GNFS explained that the managers failed to rectify some fire safety issues, hence the fire that occurred Wednesday, March 15 stressing that the blame cannot be placed at its door steps.
Speaking on Eyewitness News with Umaru Sanda Amadu, the Ashanti Regional Fire Commander, ACFO1 Henry Giwah, explained, “so far as I’m concerned they don’t have a fire certificate, but our men are there making sure that things are working. We identified some lapses, we informed management of the market, they promised to fix it for which reason we have not even renewed their certificate. We were going to make sure those things are rectified first. They promised to fix the defects when we wrote to them, that is where we were and the fire occurred”.
He further said, “they actually applied for renewal, and we told them exactly what we want them to do before we can renew. There are minimum qualifications they needed to meet before it could be granted”.
Asked if the GNFS failed managers of the new Kejetia market by watching the illegalities, he said, “maybe you can also say that, but not that our men have been watching unconcerned. They have been doing what they are supposed to do, they have been recommending every now and then. I had the opportunity of bringing this as far as to the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC)”.
He said fire personnel have started with investigations and will soon come out with their report on the cause of the fire which destroyed millions of Ghana cedis worth of items and properties in parts of the market.
“We have started with the investigations, we have been able to identify the shop the fire started, and we are yet to know exactly what happened before the fire. We do take account of eyewitnesses but most at times we want to ascertain such accounts vis-à-vis our own professional way of investigations, before we can confirm and put it out on air,” ACFO1 Giwah said.
He said punitive measures will be meted out to persons found culpable of the causes leading to the fire.
“If we found some people culpable there are some punitive measures that even management can take against those operating the market,” he stated.
The new Kejetia market will be closed down for the next three days following a meeting between the management of the market and the leadership of the traders within the facility.
The closure of the market will commence on Friday, March, 17.