You can be the owner of a beautiful ultra-modern edifice in Ghana today and tomorrow, all could be burnt down to ashes. If you are one of the many Ghanaians who hate insurance premiums, then that would be a life long hard work gone with the wind.
It’s not that fire outbreaks only happen in Ghana but in many parts of the world, you can at least count on last minute reliable attempts to save your property by Fire Fighting officers when your home or office catches fire.
In Ghana, the story is completely different and the norm has become that, properties burn to ashes under the watch of our National Fire Service—on the back of the same unpardonable excuse that they do not have water to fight the fire.
In December 2016 when fire broke out at a Labadi Gas Station killing 5 people, Ghana Fire Service, seemingly the most useless emergency service unit in Ghana among several of its kind such as the Ghana Police watched for hours—later coming out to say, “there was no water running through the fire hydrants around the site of the area.”
In fact, they blamed Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) who also came out to accuse the Fire Service for playing a blame game.
The tension between Ghana Fire Service and Ghana Water Company Limited goes way before this. In 2012, Ghana Water Company accused Ghana Fire Service of selling water illegally to the public; “a reason why the GWCL has decided to shut down some water hydrants.”
When fire broke out at the Makola market in 2014 at around 4am which destroyed properties of traders till around noon before it was brought under control, the then acting Chief Fire Officer, Col. John Bosco Guyiri came out to say, Fire Service had no water to tackle the fire despite there being a fire station a stone-throw away from the fire scene.
Yesterday, part of Coconut Groove Regency Hotel in Accra, owned by Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom caught fire–and even though a fire station is said to be about 2 minutes away from the property, the fire raged on for almost an hour under the nose of Ghana Fire Service, because as usual, they did not have water.
A friend shared the sad news of her family property in Accra having burnt down yesterday too (video below), saying, for over an hour the Fire Service did not turn up to do anything about the spreading fire and when they finally did, they said they did not have enough water.
This is no more funny: we are losing lives and millions in a form of properties through fire outbreaks–simply because our Fire Fighting Service has become absolutely useless.
With so many expensive and tall buildings being erected in Accra and the other major cities in Ghana, it’s time we re-evaluate the effectiveness of our Emergency Services, and in this case the Fire Service. Those pouring their monies into such buildings come across to me as depositing millions of dollars in a bank with it doors widely opened at night, situated in Caracas, Venezuela. Because if any catches fire, the tale will be no different to what’ve been told over and over again.
If a country cannot adequately provide for its citizens, it should at least help safeguard the properties they’ve toiled to acquire.
Ghana Police, Ghana Fire Service and the Ambulance Services are literally non-existing in Ghana. They are never there when you need them and even when they show up, they always have some lame excuse as to why they cannot help. They seem to represent the common humour scenes of the 1990s Hollywood movies when the Police always turned up at the epic fight scenes with their sirens–after it’s all over.
Think about it, what will happen when your house or office catches fire in Ghana?