Castle Hotel blaze: GFS working to confirm cause of fire

The Castle Hotel on fire last Wednesday

The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) is now working to determine the cause of the Castle Hotel blaze which ravaged the New Amsterdam, Berbice establishment on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the GFS updated that it had swiftly responded to a distress call it had received from the Lot 12 Chapel Street, New Amsterdam building at 16:37h. Within minutes, the Fire Service said, personnel had arrived at the scene, and the first jet had been deployed at 16:40h.
Upon arrival, two water tenders were deployed to combat the blaze, but the three-storey, wooden-and-concrete building still suffered severe damage. The ground floor, utilised as a club and lounge, and the first and second floors, serving as a hotel, were heavily impacted. However, there were no reported casualties.
The property is owned by Errol Azor, a 60-year-old resident of the United States of America.
“Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fire. Four jets, along with assistance from an estate Land Rover, were instrumental in extinguishing the blaze, utilising hydrants in the vicinity. With a rapid response and coordinated efforts, the Guyana Fire Service contained the fire, preventing further escalation and safeguarding the surrounding area,” the GFS added.
While it has not been confirmed, it is suspected that the fire was electrical in origin. Dayal Jagdeo, who operates a printing business opposite the hotel, said Guyana Power and Light (GPL) personnel had visited the premises twice on Wednesday afternoon before the fire started.
“It took about fifteen minutes for GPL to answer the phone! I called them because the transformer was sparking. They came and they disconnected the power from one source and left the other one,” the eyewitness was quoted as saying.
Castle Hotel is connected to both the Main Street and Strand power supply lines, giving the hotel the advantage of being still connected to the grid when there are power outages on either Main Street or at Strand.
“After GLP left, the transformer was still sparking, and we called them again! When they came, the main switch to the building was smoking, and they went in and look at it…When they were leaving, the neighbour from the restaurant over there told them that (the transformer was still) sparking,” the man related.
This witness has said that, moments later, fire was seen coming from a section of the building. At the time, only the security guard and receptionist were in the building; there were no guests at the facility. However, reports are that there had been several reservations for the evening. (G12)