A report of the taskforce committee assigned to investigate the September 14 fire outbreak at the Brikama Market has revealed that the inferno had destroyed properties worth D1, 154, 215.
The incident, which sparked a wave of panic in Brikama, saw a colossal destruction of properties in a violent fire outbreak in which 22 business canteens perished.
On September 15, a day after the incident, a taskforce was set up comprising representations from the regional disaster coordination office and all other relevant institutions assigned with the mandate to find out the causes of the fire outbreak.
Presenting the report to Mam Sait Jallow, chief executive officer of the Brikama Area Council; Binta Sey-Jadama, West Coast Region disaster coordinator and chairperson of the taskforce committee, said during their investigation, they realised that the fire ignited as a result of an apparent electric short circuit.
She said the lack of hydrants within the Market, limited access, poor electric installation and equipment without distribution boxes for customer load protection and makeshift canteens were some of the causes of the inferno and the huge losses. “The taskforce therefore recommends that attachments that are causing hindrance to be removed from the market with immediate effect to give a clear access road to fire fighters. We also recommend for hydrants to be provided in and around the Market,” she said.
The report also recommends for NAWEC to inspect installation and wiring ensuring that required procedures and standards are followed. It recommends that space management and allocation of canteens to be the responsibility of the Department of Planning and Development in consultation with the council market manager among others.
Madam Sey-Jadama further highlighted that through their site visits, they gathered in-depth data of the crude and insecure methods employed in the execution of electrical installation within the main Brikama Market, stressing the need for Brikama Area Council (BAC) to follow the recommendations highlighted in the report.
The West Coast Region police commanding officer, Kebba Bojang, recommends for urgent action to be employed through sectoral approach and to demarcate the market into zones in order to avoid the reoccurrence of fire outbreaks.
Mam Sait Jallow, the chief executive officer of BAC commended the taskforce committee for their commitment and dedication throughout the fact-finding period, saying the report would no doubt help the Council to have first-hand information about the inferno.
He informed that the report would be circulated to relevant stakeholders to adopt solid mechanisms for the implementation of the rules governing the Market.
by Amadou Jallow