Ellis Robinson Oquaye, head of Public Relations at the Ghana National Fire Service, GNFS, has given justifications for the inability of the service to adequately fight the fire that razed down a three-story building at Makola in Accra.
As reported by GhanaWeb’s Ernestina Asante, over fifty shops with items worth million of cedis were razed down by the fire on Monday, July 6, 2021.
The Service was accused of not being proactive in fighting the fire when its officers were informed about it.
The GNFS has also been accused of arriving at the scene without water in their tenders to quench the raging fire.
Speaking to JoyNews, Ellis Robinson explained that the fire tender at the Tudu main office which is less than ten minutes away from the scene has broken down and is currently undergoing repairs.
Quizzed on why an equipment that provides emergency service would break down but not be replaced immediately, Ellis said it is not unheard of for an equipment to develop a fault.
r that came here wasn’t from this station. Like I said the tender over here is faulty and could not be used at that moment but the second one that came in was from the Ministries’ fire station and that is what did the firefighting from the initial stages.
“Its an emergency vehicle that works 24/7 and if human being can break down then the fire tender that works 24/7 can also breakdown. As I speak to you it has been sent to the workshop and they are working on it,” he said.
Some of the eyewitnesses who spoke to GhanaWeb said the fire would not have escalated to the level it got to if the firefighters arrived on time and had water to combat the blaze.
“The Fire Service personnel have caused more harm than good. It was rubber burning outside one of the shops and we called to inform them about the fire outbreak but there was no response so we walked there to call on them. Can you imagine they walked to the scene to confirm whether the shops were really in flames? Why should 3 storey buildings collapse because of a minor fire outbreak?” an eyewitness told GhanaWeb.
“They arrived with 3 empty fire tenders. Is this the 64 years of independence we are celebrating? Civilians are feeling the pains of the traders, how much more you the fire officer? The Fire Service personnel arrived around 9am and that was when they started calling for reinforcement. Personnel came from Tema to douse the fire,” another alleged.