A devastating fire broke out at the Makola Shopping Mall in Accra, destroying around 200 makeshift structures. This incident occurred on a Friday night and required the heroic efforts of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to bring the inferno under control, with support from additional fire teams.
The fire erupted at approximately 11:24 p.m. on October 20, and thankfully, no injuries were reported. The exact cause of the fire remains a mystery, prompting authorities to temporarily close the shopping mall for a thorough investigation. Among the casualties were valuable items such as jewelry, perfumes, wigs, cosmetics, hair products, and clothing.
Describing the ordeal to reporters, Chief Fire Officer Kofi Forson, the Deputy Director of Operations at GNFS, revealed that their team received a distress call regarding the fire at Makola Shopping Mall around 11:24 p.m. The response was swift, with firefighters arriving at the scene within minutes. They soon realized that the fire had spread rapidly, affecting the ground floor, the first floor, and sections of the mall that housed perfumes and hair products. Given the gravity of the situation, they requested additional support and eventually deployed nine fire tenders to combat the blaze.
Mr. Forson emphasized the complexity of the operation, stating, “Unfortunately, we lost about 200 structures to the fire, there were lots of explosions. Many people had gas cylinders in there. The things they dealt in like perfume were very much combustible and fuelled the fire with explosions. Our men risked their lives because there was some slight building collapse here and there. It was a daunting task, but we risked it to ensure there was no reignition of fire and that the fire was totally extinguished.” The courageous efforts of the firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading further, including to the nearby ECG sub-station.
The challenges they encountered were significant, mainly due to the tight confines created by the makeshift structures, which made it difficult to access the fire. Explosions from gas cylinders added to the complexity of the situation. In a remarkable display of dedication, the fire service had to use specialized equipment to force open padlocked entrances and gain access to the heart of the incident.
This unfortunate incident serves as a testament to the bravery and commitment of the GNFS in the face of adversity. While the loss of structures and valuable goods is a tragedy, their quick response and determination prevented an even more catastrophic outcome. Investigations will continue to shed light on the origin of the fire, and steps will be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.