Last month’s Brikama market fire damaged more than D1 million dalasis of goods and properties, according to a regional task force report released on Wednesday.
The fire destroyed at least 22 businesses, mostly stalls.
Investigators found that poor electrical wiring and unauthorized electrical installations without recommended NAWEC boxes caused the spark that had put many vendors out of business.
According to the West Coast Region Disaster Committee chief, the fire could have been extinguished with less damage caused if not for limited access to the market. Unorganized standing of stalls and overcrowding impeded access of the fire department.
There are no fire hydrants at the market, forcing firefighters to travel at least a mile to the city center, somewhere around the Brikama Youth Center to fill their tanks.
“The stalls causing hindrance should be immediately removed to give quick access to the market in case of an emergency, fire hydrants should be installed in strategic locations around the market, NAWEC should inspect installations and wirings, and department of planning should ensure space management and proper allocation of stalls,” said Disaster Committee Chief Binta Sey Jadama.
The Brikama Area Council said it will put measures to immediately enforce standards to prevent future fire outbreaks, which has become an annual tradition in the central area of the market.
Report for another market fire in the Serrekunda suburb of Latri Kunda is yet to be released. More than 75 businesses were burnt down after an electrical failure sparked an inferno there.
Many businesses are not covered by insurance in The Gambia, leaving those affected at a loss.