Over forty-eight persons are now jobless after a mid-afternoon fire flattened the Supra International furniture manufacturing complex at the Coldigen Industrial Estate on the East Coast of Demerara.
According to reports, the fire started sometime around 15:30h in the right wing of the building and quickly spread.
The Guyana Fire Service was summoned but only arrived after the entire building was up in flames – some 75 minutes later.
The Police in a statement said the foreman, Gansham Yougeshwar, related that he secured the factory and left everything intact but received a call sometime later informing him of the fire. He explained that he then returned to the site and summoned the Fire Service while attempting to save some items.
Owner, Keith Moonasar, was distraught as he spoke to Guyana Times. He related that he received a call informing him of the fire after which he immediately contacted his managers and foremen, who confirmed same.
“They said that there is a fire here and they are waiting on the fire brigade. They called the Fire Service and it took like one hour 15 minutes for them to get here. I was too shaky to drive so I took a cab and immediately rushed here and when I got here, everything was gone already,” he related.
He said the family was preparing for the wake of his brother, who was the former manager of the complex, when he received the news. He noted that they have been in operation since 1997 and that the Coldigen location was their manufacturing and storage complex.
“It is hard to estimate any losses but it is in the hundreds of millions. We manufacture office furniture to sell at our sister company, Starcom Office Furniture. We had foam, fabric, machinery and building furniture supplies (stored in the building),” he further stated.
The businessman noted that there were some combustible materials stored in the building, but they were locked away in a “sealed room.” He added that his 48 plus workers are now out of a job because of the fire.
“This is immeasurable lost. No amount of insurance can replace it. We have outstanding orders, we have never been so busy, and we have outstanding commitments. How do you recover from this? How do you even begin to?” he questioned.
According to the security guard on duty, Baichan (only name given), he discovered smoke emanating from the building sometime at about 15:30h and immediately summoned the manager and foreman.
“Me come tek over at 3 o’clock and the foreman and manager them wait till me come and then them lock up the place and them left. After them come about half hour later me see smoke and me hurry call the foreman and then them come back same time and call the fire reel,” he related. He also lashed out at the Fire Service for not arriving in a timely manner. (Lakhram Bhagirat)