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Ashanti Region: Firefighters attacked, five arrested amid chaos at Racecourse Market blaze

The fire, which ignited in the early hours of Monday (11 March), wreaked havoc on dozens of metal and wooden structures, including stalls stocked with foodstuff and other valuable items, resulting in losses amounting to millions of cedis.

A massive blaze at Racecourse Market in Bantama in Kumasi, turned even more chaotic as five people were arrested for assaulting personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) who were battling the flames.

The fire, which ignited in the early hours of Monday (11 March), wreaked havoc on dozens of metal and wooden structures, including stalls stocked with foodstuff and other valuable items, resulting in losses amounting to millions of cedis.

As the fire crew fought to contain the inferno, they encountered an unexpected and aggressive response from an angry mob. The hostile crowd launched an attack on the firefighters, pelting them with stones and other projectiles.

DO3 Simon Ben Badu with the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Fire Command said his men swiftly took action against the assailants, apprehending at least five individuals involved in the attack.

“Our preliminary investigations revealed that the fire started from one of the corn mills and because the shops are closed, it spread to other shops. We have counted about 180 shops. Investigations are still ongoing. We are going to pursue this to the latter.”

“Whatever happens to them [arrested suspects] will, be a deterrent to others, that the attack on firemen must stop. The attack was a result they believe that we delayed in getting to the scene, and the spread of the fire was a result of the congested nature of the market,” Badu said.

Many traders were unable to salvage their belongings, and over twenty milling machines were destroyed in the blaze. The affected individuals are now assessing their losses.

“This is a big blow”, said market queen Maame Kyeiwaa. “The situation is very devastating as many items have been destroyed. It is so sad that the fire crew were also attacked, while they were battling the inferno, and we condemn this action by a section of the traders”.

For now, we are appealing to authorities especially the office of the Vice-President and the Chief of Staff to come to our aid. Our livelihoods are in jeopardy. This is indeed a terrible loss”, she said.

In 2023, the trading hub experienced a similar fire incident, destroying at least 60 stalls, properties and food items running into thousands of cedis have been destroyed by the fire.

It took the intervention of four fire tenders to completely douse the fire. The cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

Reporting By Jonathan Ofori, Ashanti Region

 

 

 

Source: asaaseradio.com

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