The magnitude of the Wednesday, March 15, 2023, fire at the Kumasi Central Market (Kejetia Market) might not have been so disturbing, seeing that Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Ghana’s vice president, has shared the cause as having stemmed from a woman cooking in her shop.
There have also been claims by some of the traders at the scene that the fire rather started from Kejetia Dubai, where car tyres are sold.
An official report on the cause of the fire, expected to be produced by the Ghana National Fire Service, is however, yet to be made public.
But a damning report put together by Contracta, a group originating from Brazil, that has been operating in the civil engineering and infrastructure industries since 1996, raises even more questions about the danger that the Kejetia Market is in.
In summary, the report, titled, “Kumasi Central Market Phase 1: Routine Inspection of Kumasi Market Phase 1 Operations,” looked at a complete and proper operation of the market.
Some of the findings of the report, including how the contractor raised concerns about the difficulty that could pertain in the case of a future emergency.
“The definition of trading locations in the market was done with safety and commercial considerations in mind, especially in what regards the need for speedy evacuation in the case of an emergency. Currently the occupation of the market is not in line with the originally defined plans and in case of an emergency, the evacuation routes are not cleared of obstructions.”
Here they are. The following text are just as they are produced in the report put together by Contracta:
Gas Leak Detection System
In random inspections in restaurant and fast-food stores, damaged valves and gas leak sensors were identified. The apparent cause is the proximity of the storage and stock of products. The proper functioning of this equipment is essential for the safety and protection of users in case of possible gas leaks.
Fire hydrants and fire extinguishers boxes were randomly inspected, and it was identified the absence of accessories and/or fire-fighting equipment in all of them.
Many of smoke detection sensors have caps, making it impossible to read and use the system in an adequate way. Additionally, some detectors have been damaged and in need of substitution.
The hydrant pipe fixing bases have been removed and the pipes are unbalanced and not fixed adequately. This will cause severe leaks in the case of pressurization of the system in case of activation of the main fire pumps.
The fire alarm control panel backup batteries must be replaced since these no longer can store the charge necessary to operate the system. In the event of a power outage, the system will be turned off and potential fires will not be detected.
CO Detection System
The CO (carbon monoxide) detection sensors on the vehicle traffic area have been damage. The proper functioning of this equipment is essential for the safety and protection of users in case of accumulation of large amounts of CO in this environment. These sensors control the forced ventilation system that prevent the accumulation of dangerous gases.
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
Due to technical problems on the server, the CCTV system is not in operation and consequently all monitoring and security of market operations are not being monitored.
The dedicated technical rooms are being used as a storage area, damaging the installed equipment. The technical rooms need to be kept clean and for the exclusive use of their systems and equipment installed. The access must be limited to maintenance staff only.
Several closings and/or handrails have been damaged and left unrepaired in several floors and internal areas of the market. These areas need constant corrective maintenance due to several shopkeepers occupying and storing products in areas not intended for the purpose and loss of control of trolleys on the ramps.
Guard Rails and Curbs
There are several protections for the movement of people and vehicles such as guard rails and curbs that have been damaged and have not been repaired and need to have corrective maintenance to avoid accidents.
It was identified that the ice machine has and continues to present substantial leaks of both hydraulic oil and gas. Nevertheless, the equipment is still in operation, increasing the existing damage that will further compromise the equipment.
General Misuse of Installations
The definition of trading locations in the market was done with safety and commercial considerations in mind, especially in what regards the need for speedy evacuation in the case of an emergency. Currently the occupation of the market is not in line with the originally defined plans and in case of an emergency, the evacuation routes are not cleared of obstructions.
See the full Contracta report below: