Fire Outbreaks: Check Damaging Electricity Disorder!

Recurrent fire outbreaks that have hit the country and do not seem to abate are a serious call for concern. Markets as well as public and private buildings have suffered a great deal from fire outbursts and reports of this or that building being reduced to aches is almost a banal subject to many citizens. To say the least, a month hardly goes by without reports of a fire incident and once it’s over, the victims are left alone to grind their teeth in colossal damages.
Each time the inferno strikes and popular efforts put in to calm the storm, authorities almost always wage in; often after heavy destruction, to announce ‘opening investigations’ to uncover the cause even if results would hardly to be brought to public knowledge.   But one thing about the frequent fire incidences is the degree of damage (sometimes human and material) which often reduces most of their victims to near ruin. Imagine a shop owner who losses everything to fire, a workshop whose equipment are reduced to rubble or an office where vital documents and information in machines are swept away by ravaging fires. It sounds frightening, but this is the sorry reality fire outbreaks have reduced people to.
Government and development partners are now struggling to cough out huge sums of scarce liquidity, estimated at FCFA 250 billion, to rehabilitate parts of the National Oil Refinery Corporation that were razed by fire in May 2019. Many families got ripped off of their breadwinners by a Yaounde nightclub fire incident which killed dozens and incapacitated several others. Traders of Elig-Edzoa, Mvog-Mbi, Ekounou, Kousseri, Bamenda, Kumba, Douala markets across the country can tell stories of how much losses they have incurred to fire incidents that have unfortunately found soft spots in most markets across Cameroon.
The State’s broadcaster in January 2020 painted a picture of the recurrent fire incidents in the country noting, for instance that, “In the past one year, a month has hardly passed by without the media reporting on a major fire incident in one part of Cameroon or the other.” Newspapers, television and radio news headlines of some extensive damages caused by fire, and even human loss reported in some cases like “Cameroon: Fire consumes part of Chollire District Hospital in North region,” “Kid dies, another seriously injured in fire incident in Douala,” “Fire consumes shops at Mboppi market in Douala,” “Cameroon’s oil refinery burnt down,” might have escaped the populations’ memories.  But it was a micro picture of the great destruction inferno inflicts on society and its inhabitants, damaging lives and livelihoods sometime even beyond repairs. 
The most recent of the blazes on June 24, 2022 ravaged the Finance Control Services of the Ministries of Livestock and Trade in Yaounde. It is reported that although there was no human loss, the material damage was huge. One can start imagining the amount of sensitive documents that went on flames and how the administrations function thereafter given that computers; certainly containing delicate information, were wholly razed. Confusing indeed!
The rate of population growth and industrialisation, unstable electricity, urbanisation, negligence and illegal electrical connection are noticeable disorders fertile for fire accidents.  We might not have the real cause of the recent fire incidence likewise previous ones. But for one thing, electricity connection and to be more precise; the short circuit, is almost always brandished each time the disaster strikes. It is true that some people sometimes see invisible hands in some of the fire outbreaks, but the issue of electricity disorder appears to be the main cause. Experts in electricity hold that short circuits occur during overloading or when two bare wires touch. Simply put: A circuit is said to be overloaded when too much current flows causing heat buildup or wiring to break down. This can lead to sparks and fire.
Inasmuch as short circuits are universal occurrences, the haphazard nature of electricity connection in most of Cameroon’s markets likewise in some neighbourhoods exacerbates the situation. Amateurish electricity connection, faulty and sometimes outmoded outlets and outdated appliances are just some of the problems behind the decrying electrical short circuits that repeatedly land the country and population in danger. It is deplorable that laypersons transform themselves into electricians to handle tasks as delicate as electricity connection. Picking a cable to connect and light bulbs shouldn’t be this simplified. Jumping into a shop to pick whatever electrical material without due consideration of the load it can carry could be a time bomb. It can, and as a matter of fact, absolutely needs to be wholly checked.
Even beyond the problems of short circuit are uncivil behaviours of some office users. Lighting up an air conditioner and bulbs in offices and leaving them as such for days, leaving computers on even when the users are off and leaving other elec...



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