Some shop owners at Dondoli in the Wa Municipality have been left devastated after fire destroyed building materials and motor parts worth thousands of cedis sold in a number of shops on Wednesday, February 12.

Speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana, a brother of one of the shop owners, Tamin Issah recounted that after opening their shops for business at around 9 a.m., they detected a fire behind the shops.

Brother of Shop Owner, Tamin Issah.

Mr Issah said while trying to reach the Ghana National Fire Service, GNFS, the fire intensified due to the presence of some wood pieces packed behind the shops by the contractor of the Upper West Regional Youth Resource Centre.

When GBC news team arrived, personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service GNFS were already at the scene trying to extinguish the fire. A brother of one of the shop owners, Tamin Issah mentioned that whilst trying to reach the GNFS, onlookers fetched water and tried to quench the fire while others tried to retrieve some of the items from the shops.

Mr Issah recounted: “in trying to retrieve some of the items from the shops, most of the items got damaged while others were lost in the fires.”

He said although he is unsure how the fire started, he was confident that the intensity of the fire was due to the pieces of wood packed behind the shops by the contractor of the Upper West Regional Youth Resource Center. Mr Issah appealed to government for support for the shop owners to minimize their losses.

“Any assistance that government or anyone who is in authority can do for us at least to get him [his brother, Yunus Abdul Nasir] back in business, we will appreciate it,” he stressed.

The Upper West Regional PRO of the GNFS, ADO Martin Bakobie said they received a distress call around 10:44 a.m. and quickly rushed to the scene. He said due to the intensity of the fire, the first fire tender quickly run out of water. He said attempts to access water from a nearby water hydrant proved futile thus the need to call for support from other fire tenders and a fire water tanker from the Regional GNFS office.

UWR GNFS PRO, ADO Martin Bakobie.

ADO Bakobie said although the exact cause of the fire is not immediately known, it is clear that fire was as a result of hot coals or ashes introduced close by. He said the fire was mainly as a result of negligence.

“What is obvious is that someone inadvertently introduced some form of ignition. Once there are combustible materials, the wood and other debris are packed here, it means that definitely someone introduced some sort of ignition. As to what the person did to introduce the fire, it is something we cannot immediately determine.”

“This is a result of negligence. We have as a Service [GNFS] been advising the residents that during the dry season, we must be very careful with our handling of fire. Any fire that you set must be attended to,” he stressed.

ADO Bakobie called on residents to be on high alert and ensure their surroundings are kept clean to avoid the easy spread of fire.

Story filed by Mark Smith.

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