By Saikou Suwareh Jabai

The Taskforce, which was set up to investigate the September 14th fire outbreak at the main Brikama Market that destroyed a total of 22 canteens, has recently handed over its findings to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Brikama Area Council (BAC). According to the findings, the cost of the items destroyed in the fire incident is estimated at D1.154, 215.

In handing over the report, Madame Binta Sey Jadama, the West Coast Regional Disaster Coordinator who also doubles as the chairperson of the taskforce, said their investigation revealed that the cause of the fire was due to electric short circuit. 

She noted that the lack of hydrants within the market, limited access within the market, poor electric installations and equipment without distribution boxes for customer load protection, makeshift canteens, among others, contributed in exacerbating the destruction which has affected a total of 22 business owners in the market.

“The taskforce therefore recommends that attachments that are causing hindrance be removed from the market with immediate effect to give a clear access road to fire fighters, hydrants be provided in and around the market, NAWEC to inspect installation and the wiring to ensure required procedures and standard are followed, 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,’’ she said.   

The WCR Disaster Coordinator further highlighted that through their site visits, they have gathered much data on the crude and insecure methods employed in the execution of electrical installations within the Brikama main market. She urged the council to follow the recommendations highlighted by the taskforce and hoped that it would be given all due considerations without any delay.

The Officer Commanding (OC) West Coast Region (WCR) Police, Kebba Bojang, underscored the need for urgent action to be taken through the multi sectoral approach as well as to demarcate the market into zones in order to avoid the reoccurrence of such incidents.

In receiving the report, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow, BAC CEO, commended the taskforce members for their commitment and dedication throughout the fact finding period, adding that the report is the first of its kind in the history of the council and would in no doubt help it to have first-hand information on the issues surrounding the fire incident.

He said the report will be circulated to the relevant stakeholders who have a stake in the market to adopt solid mechanisms for the implementation of the rules governing the market. He noted that the report calls for a multi sectoral approach while thanking the team for doing justice and coming up with such a report, adding that they have demonstrated responsibility, trust and confidence.

It could be recalled that on the 15th September the taskforce was set up comprising the regional disaster coordination office, the regional national environment office, the fire and rescue services, the police, the governor’s office, Brikama Area Council, National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) and the market committee and assigned with the mandate to find out the causes of the fire outbreak that occurred on the 14th September between 10pm and 1am and the extent of the damage, among others, in order to avoid its reoccurrence.