Iconic Kejetia Market Up In Flames
One of Ghana’s iconic landmarks, the Kejetia market in Kumasi was up in flames late afternoon of March 15, 2023. The market which is one of the largest and busiest in the West Africa sub-region fell victim to the spate of market fires that have beset Ghana in the past few years. When the incidents appeared to have abated and almost forgotten, Kejetia erupted like a volcano without any warning sign. The manner of the fire outbreak has left many tongues wagging and set minds wondering about possible causes.
One eyewitness indicated that the fire emitted from a section where combustible materials are sold. From that account, it does seem it was triggered by a careless act.
The fireball which engulfed the structures in the market was so ferocious, giving operators in the vicinity no chance to salvage their wares but to think first about saving their skins. In the mix of anxiety and helter-skelter, a market woman was reported to have jumped from an upper floor of the structure to the ground as the fire blocked access to stairways.
The full range of casualties was not yet known at the time of filing this report but the extensive destruction incurred is too staggering to be missed. It was a hectic time for firefighters who had to wade through a thick crowd before reaching the fire from a given distance. The fire was brought under control after about an hour yet the interiors of the market building were smoldering indicating that not much could be salvaged in affected parts.
This is a clear case of an antithesis where days prior to this fire, the market had been flooded to waist level following recent rainfalls. Two items that have nothing in common, water and fire though useful to life in many ways have proven their devastating nature using the open market of Kejetia as the unsanctioned laboratory. Statistics point to Kumasi as the worst-case scenario when it comes to fire outbreaks in Ghana, often with the discovery of a certain lack of mindedness.
The million-dollar Kejetia market project is suffixed by people as the Kejetia-Dubai because of its beauty. The massive facelift on the market was inspired by the traditional overlord of Asante, His Majesty the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. Works started under President John Mahama and phase two was due to start under the Akufo-Addo administration. The fire has certainly set the clock backward.