The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) have clashed over the unavailability of water in the fire hydrants in and around Accra Central Business District (CBD) to quench Monday’s inferno which gutted a three-storey building near Makola.
While the GNFS says the unavailability of water in the hydrants affected their efforts to quench the fire immediately they got to the scene, the GWCL believes they could have moved to a near-by hydrant for water when the ones in and around the CBD were not working.
Fire gutted the three-storey building at Makola in the central business district of Accra on Monday, July 5, leaving many traders in sorrow over lost wares.
Most of the traders deal in cosmetic products.
The fire, according to eyewitnesses, began at around 9:00 am in one of the shops and spread to others.
It took fire personnel almost 12 hours to bring the fire under control.
Explaining further the extent of the damage caused by the fire, the Head of Public Relations at the GNFS, Ellis Robinson Okoe, told Maakye host Captain Smart on Onua TV and Onua FM on Tuesday that “there were no access roads to where the building was. All the fire hydrants are not working. No water was flowing and the distance was a factor”.
“The flexibility to the building was not there. Traffic also blocked us,” he added.
DO II Robinson Okoe said “we need hydraulic platform…helicopters…we will need more breathing apparatus to be able to fight fire but we don’t have them”.
But reacting to the no-water in the fire hydrants assertions, the Head of Communications at the Ghana Water Company, Stanley Martey, refused to accept them.
“We have to allow the technical people to talk when it comes to some of these things. The Fire Service will never accuse Ghana Water. It is the media that pushes them to say certain things.”
He explained that “in Accra, every kilometer had fire hydrants so if you get to one and there is no water, you move to the second one”.
Mr. Martey added that “the demand for water is more than we are able to supply so we can’t get the whole of Accra water every time that is why we ration water”.
He said “[GNFS] had about nine fire tenders and at every point in time they needed water? Accra is complicated”.