Increasing Fire Incidents in Cameroon: A Call for Concern

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.

Newspapers, television and radio news have bore devastating headlines of some extensive damages caused by fire, and even some human loss reported in some cases.

Some of the headlines carried by some media organs include;

# “Cameroon: Fire consumes part of Chollire District Hospital in North region. A bigger portion of the Chollire District Hospital in the Department of the Mayo-Rey, North region of Cameroon has been…” November 7, 2020.

# “Kid dies, another seriously injured in fire incident in Douala. A child is reported to have died and another one got seriously injured following a fire incident that broke out…” October 18, 2019.

# “Fire consumes shops at Mboppi market in Douala. A good number of shops have reportedly been reduced to ashes following a fire incident that broke out in one…” September 24, 2019.

# “Fire ravages one dormitory at EMIA. The dormitory of the aspirants of the 37th batch of the combined Services Military Academy, EMIA was this Tuesday morning…” June 18, 2019.

# “Cameroon’s oil refinery burned down, government says it is … Jun 3, 2019 – An explosion caused fire in the national oil refinery (Sonara)’s unit located at … Let’s note that this incident occurred at a time Sonara is in a …”

These incidents and many others of burnings of private and state property following the crisis in the North West and South West regions have made top news.

But the question on so many lips is why the recurrence of these fire incidents?

Following investigations after such fire incidents in Cameroon, most findings by the police have reported that the fires are caused by a short circuit problem.

In other cases, the cause is never declared.

Popular opinion holds that most fire incidents caused by short circuit are due to congestion especially in market areas.

Government has spent hundreds of millions of CFA francs as aid to victims of fire.

Housing stakeholders advice that, to avoid future similar incidents, accurate planning must be done before construction.

Bruno Ndonwie Funwie

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