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ECOMOG Squatters warned against rebuilding after devastating fire


Squatters around ECOMOG near the Kwame Nkrumah interchange in the Okaikoi South Sub-Metropolitan District have been cautioned to refrain from rebuilding wooden structures at the location affected by the Wednesday, June 5 fire outbreak.  

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Hon. Titus Glover, who gave the warning when he visited the fire scene in the company of the Mayor of Accra, said those who contravened the directive would be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the law.  

Mr. Glover said it was important to prioritise the safety of residents hence the directive not to come back to the area while citing the risk of another fire outbreak.

He noted that the area was a national asset, with a GRIDCO power transmission line running through it, adding that anyone found rebuilding or residing at the location would be prosecuted.

He emphasised the lessons that should have been learnt when a similar fire incident occurred at the same location on the morning of February 22, 2022, and highlighted the danger posed by the fire to national assets such as the transmission lines.

He lamented that people living under the pylons were endangering their lives, asserting the responsibility of the Regional Security Council to protect lives and property.

 He urged a local chief to ensure that people vacate the area to prevent another fire incident, stressing that measures would be taken to enforce the directive, including the deployment of personnel to ensure compliance and the arrest of any individuals who resist.

The Minister also criticised the unsanitary conditions and the inappropriate behaviour prevalent in the area, describing it as a "red light" district where women engage in unacceptable activities, and vowed to sanitise the area, making it safe and clean.

Addressing the question of providing alternative accommodations for the displaced individuals, the minister acknowledged the difficulty, citing the overcrowded conditions in Accra and the lack of available space. 

He urged them to find other living arrangements, as the government could not provide alternative housing for them.

 The Regional Chief Officer Grade one, ACFO1 for the Ghana National Fire Service, Roberta Aggrey Ghanson, reported that despite deploying five appliances to combat the blaze, the fire spread rapidly due to the predominantly wooden structures and the use of plywood, which burns quickly because of its petroleum-based glue. 

The officer explained that the occupancy load involved class three commodity products, such as wood and clothing, which also contributed to the fast-burning nature of the fire. 

While the investigation and forensic teams are yet to determine the actual cause of the fire, she highlighted the safety risks posed by the proximity of the structures to the pylons, which should have a clearance of at least 50 metres, stressing that the area was unsafe, particularly for children.