Fire yesterday swept through the Sikkens Scrap Line, near Agbogbloshie in Accra, razing down some shops and destroying valuables running into thousands of Ghana cedis.
It took the swift response of personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the area.
No life was lost, but some structures which provided shelter for dealers in scrap metals in the area were destroyed.
The fire, which reportedly started around 2 p.m., destroyed the wares of the scrap dealers, including second-hand fridges, electronic spare parts and extracted aluminium products.
Cause of fire
The immediate cause of the fire is yet to be established by the GNFS, but unconfirmed information indicates that the activities of a welder could be responsible for the fire outbreak.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Baba Alhassan, said: “The welder was working on a gate and, then, all of a sudden, we saw the fire coming up from there. As of now, the welder has run away.”
When the Daily Graphic got to the scene of the fire around 3:30 p.m., personnel of the GNFS from the Industrial Area Fire Command were battling the fire.
The firemen, armed with two fire engines and other fire-fighting equipment, fought the fire until they were able to bring it under control and cordoned it from escalating.
Dejection, despair and sorrow were written on the faces of some of the dealers in scrap metal in the area, as they were seen counting their losses.
Some of those who expressed their sorrow to the Daily Graphic said they had lost all that they toiled for over the years, while others said they had taken money from clients in the hope of supplying scrap to them.
One of the victims, Yakubu Abdul Rahim, said his entire shop had been burned down by the ravaging fire and that it was going to be a daunting task for him to come out of the woods.
Personnel of the GNFS who were at the scene declined to speak on the cause of the fire. However, a source within their fold said the GNFS received a distress call around 2 p.m and had to move to the location immediately.
“When the call came, our men were quickly mobilised to ensure that the fire was put under control. After ferociously confronting the fire, we were able to put it under control,” it said.
But speaking later to the Daily Graphic on the fire outbreak, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GNFS, Mr Prince Billy Anaglate, said the service was doing an in-depth assessment of the cause of the fire.
“We are looking at specific information relating to the fire outbreak and we hope that within the next 24 hours we will be able to put a finger on the facts and let the public know,” he added.
The Sikkens Scrap Line is a hub for the extraction of aluminium products from scrap metal. The dealers are mainly migrants from the northern part of the country and others from Mali, Burkina Faso and other West African countries.
It is arguably the biggest site for scrap metal in Africa, but it has witnessed some fire outbreaks over the years, most of which had been attributed to the activities of substance abusers.