About 33 suspects in connection with the Kumasi Asafo market fire disaster have been arrested by the regional police command. But the Police are yet to make any comment on the said arrest. On Friday, April 21, a section of the Asafo market caught fire destroying many stalls, reducing wares and shops into ashes.
Affected traders in the Easter double fire disaster at the Asafo market in Kumasi have called on the government to come to their aid, as they have lost millions to the disaster.
Another fire gutted the same market on Easter Sunday, escalating the woes of traders at the Asafo market. Shops including hair dressing salons, jewelry shops, printing shops among others were heavily affected.
Meanwhile, the traders, who are still counting their loses after the ‘double fire disaster’ on Friday and Sunday have called on the government to support them in reconstructing their stalls and also assist them financially.
Speaking to Citi FM, an affected trader said, “We have lost a lot, so we need the government to help us and restructure this place for us so that we can have a better place to trade.”
Another trader, whose shop was ravaged by the fire, said, “We need loans from the government so that we will be able to re-build our stores and containers”.
Regional Commander of the GNFS, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Joshua Nguah, and the Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE), Mr. Osei Assibey Antwi, have said the developments could be linked to possible arson.
“It is too early to ascertain the true cause of the fire,” Mr. Nguah noted, and quipped, “arson could not be ruled out.”
He expressed shock, explaining that, usually, for the contents of metal containers to burn, there should be an opening before the combustible materials in the containers could catch fire. But during Sunday evening’s fire, the contents and the whole metal containers caught fire, a situation he described as beating one’s imagination.
The first of the fires was recorded at an area in the Central Market at about 10p.m. last Friday. Traders dealing in mainly second-hand clothes, maize, pepper and other consumables lost their wares in the inferno.
The second incident occurred late Saturday night at Asafo when fire destroyed mainly the shoemakers and leather works arena and some parts of the meat marketing shops close to the main entrance, opposite the Asafo overhead bridge.
It was challenging for fire officers to contain the fire, particularly, the one at the Asafo market, which is said to have burnt more than 200 shops and stalls. The situation was attributed to the intensity of the fire and its location.
According to the Ghana National Fire Service, 5,531 fire outbreaks were recorded across the country in the year 2018, compared with the 2017 total of 4,544 cases. In 2018, 44 lives were lost through those fires, 11 more than the previous year’s figure of 33.