The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says it has started measuring all hydrants in the country.
According to the company, this will control the illegal drawing and sale of water from the fire hydrants by employees of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).
The agency had claimed that low pressure in the hydrants was a major challenge in fighting Monday’s Makola fire.
But Chief Manager in charge of Communications the Water Company, Stanley Martey, says all fire hydrants in the country will be measured.
“We have started measuring all the fire hydrants in the country to check how the water is coming from there,” he said.
Previously, the GWCL (GNFS) had been accused of selling water from fire hydrants intended for firefighting.
In what appears to be evolving into a full-blown spat between the two vital service providers over who is responsible for the challenges fighting Monday’s fire in Accra’s Central Business District, the state-owned company said it is helping fulfill all its obligations to the fire service. to do her job.
Speaking to Joy News, engineer Emmanuel Johnson, chief manager of the GWCL responsible for the Accra East region, said the company cannot be blamed for the fire service’s inefficiencies.
“It is common knowledge that firefighting tenders are being abused. In addition, evidence abounds across the country about how some firefighters extract water from the hydrants and sell it to the general public,” he claimed.
He continued: “GWCL as a company cannot get caught up in the fire in the Makola market because there are enough hydrants in the central business district. So they have to accept responsibility for not putting out the Makola fire,” he said.
The fire, which destroyed a three-storey building with 108 stores, took about 72 hours to fully extinguish. The core of the difficulty in fighting the fire was strained access to a fire hydrant. Dozens of traders at the site of the fire accuse the fire service of not responding.
“It started as a small fire, we called them and they said they had no water. How can that be?” questioned one of the angry traders.
Meanwhile, PRO for the DO1 Fire Department explained to Ellis Robinson Okoe that low pressure in the area’s hydrants greatly hampered their efforts to fight the fire.
“Unfortunately, all the fire hydrants in the central business district have low pressure, so we had to go to other areas like Circle and Alajo to fill the tenders,” he said.
When asked why the low pressure problem had not been solved, he said: “We all know that we pay at least one percent to Ghana Water Company. So if any of the GWCL officials are here, they can answer.”
Subsequently, the Chief Fire Officer at the GNFS, Edwin Ekow Blankson, also claimed that all fire hydrants in the central business district had been sealed since 1992.
But Emmanuel Johnson said the fire department’s story couldn’t be true.
He said there are 70 hydrants in the Accra East region, 11 of which are in the Makola area alone, arguing that it cannot be possible that the hydrants have not been working properly.
“GWCL cannot be blamed in any way for the GNFS’ inability to fight or put out the fire on Monday to the public’s expectation,” he said.
He continued: “The GNFS must therefore adhere to their standard procedures. Basically they should check all their hydrants and make sure they have water in them and stop blaming other people for their shortcomings.”