Ashanti Region recorded a total of 350 fire outbreaks during the first quarter of the year, representing a 52.89 per cent reduction over the 2016 same period figure of 743 cases.

Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) Desmond Ackah, the Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), said domestic fires topped the cases.

He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that bush and vehicular fires were also considerably high.

He put the cost of property lost to fire within the space of the first three months at GH?4,534,023.00.

The Service has targeted to bring down fire incidents in the region by 60 per cent and ADO Ackah said this was within reach.

He added that scaled up public education on safety by the GNFS combined with preventive measures including surveillance of the markets was showing good results.

Between January and the close of May, 475 fire cases were recorded, compared with the last year’s figure of 891.

He spoke of the establishment of a taskforce that had been patrolling the major markets to make sure bye-laws on fire safety were observed.

ADO Ackah reminded the people to avoid tampering with fire hydrants in their localities, saying, the hydrants were vital for firefighting.

He expressed worry about the situation where structures had been built on them and others covered with refuse, saying, this tended to make things difficult for the firefighters during emergencies.

He appealed to city authorities to incorporate fire hydrants installation into physical development planning.

He also called for the Ghana Water Company (GWC) to see to the regular maintenance of the hydrants.