File Photo

The Ashanti Regional Commander of the Ghana National Fire Service has warned households to be extra cautious about the risk of fires.

Out of 921 fires recorded from January to September in the Ashanti region, a third representing 336 involved homes and other residential abodes.

Some of these fires resulted in the death of victims who were either trapped in their buildings or suffocated by thick smoke; the latest being the death of a mother and two children at Ohwim and the death of a retired Audit Service boss at Aburaso.

In some cases, whole houses were raised down with losses of property running into several hundreds of thousands.

Ashanti Regional commander for the fire service Assistant Chief Fire Officer ACFO Henry Giwah attributes this worrisome trend to negligence and a lack of caution in performing hazardous household tasks.

He explained, “It’s a lack of adherence to fire titbits that we have been issuing. At times, due to negligence, people do things haphazardly and before they realize things have gone haywire. Most of our women want to cook and do other things and by the time you realize, it has turned into something else unanticipated.”

Another major concern for the fire command is the careless use of Liquified Petroleum Gas(LPG) for cooking and a failure to properly maintain cylinders as well as the inappropriate use of electronic gadgets.

“Some will also want to warm their food in the microwave while doing other things. Some will light a leaking stove and place a stone on it to stop the leakage. What do you expect when there is a slight spark?” He quizzed.

To prevent a recurrence of such tragic incidents in domestic fires, the fire command has begun working with the Centre For Urban Settlement in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, to introduce burglarproof systems that are equally secure but easily opened for escape during domestic fires.

The next most notorious category for fires in the Ashanti region were stores, kiosks and other commercial facilities recording 125 fires.

This was closely followed by 123 bush fires; 117 fires around electrical installations and 95 vehicular fires.

The category with the least fires was institutions that recorded  29 fire incidents and other non-classified fire incidents like garbage dump fires, tallying 9 fire incidents.

By: Ivan Heathcote – Fumador.