Fire guts Regent Street businesses

Firefighters making attempts to put out the blaze

The Sachi building, located on Regent Street, Georgetown, which was destroyed by fire about nine months ago, was on Sunday evening once again gutted along with another business.
The fire started sometime around 20:30h at Lot 136 Regent Street, Georgetown.
Based on reports received, the fire started in a large enclosed tent operated by Sachi’s and quickly spread to the neighbouring three-storey building.
That building housed several small businesses including a variety store and Sam Tronix – an electronic store. The fire has left businessmen counting their loses which is estimated to be in the millions.
At the scene, Fire Chief Marlon Gentle told reporters that the building was “severely damaged”. He added that the fire had also “penetrated” the building next door.
“There was some damage to the goods on that eastern wall but we managed it. We have the fire under control,” he stated.
Firefighters had to cut into the building to put out the fire inside the building.
According to the Fire Chief, after the first report was made of rubbish burning next to the Sachi building, a unit from Alberttown was dispatched. Upon arriving at the scene and observing the two top floors of the three-storey building engulfed in flames, backup was requested. Fire tenders from the Central, Campbellville and West Ruimveldt Stations were dispatched to the area.
“We went into a very aggressive fire fighting to prevent this fire from spreading; as you can see these buildings are very close here… Water support from GWI (Guyana Water Incorporated) was excellent and we’re using water from the canal on South Road,” he added.
Gentle went on to say that in addition to winds posing a challenge, firefighters found difficulties in locating the fire hydrants.

The building on fire

“We had to do some debris clearing [to access the hydrant] … This is a situation we’ve encountered more than once – not only garbage but building materials. Even old derelict cars and so on, we find that they’re blocking the hydrants… Most of the hydrants have some level of vandalism on them and that is deliberate,” the Fire Chief noted.
To this end, Gentle called on persons to be more responsible.
“A fire hydrant is not there for somebody to use to park cars next to it and so on. It’s there for fires – like when we have these situations here and when we get there and those hydrants are not functional or cannot be located then it delays our response and our fire attacks,” he asserted.
At the time, the Fire Chief could not say where the fire began. He related that investigators will have to follow up with the caller who made the initial report to determine the origin.
Meanwhile, the manager of Sam Tronix, Sharafat Ali – an Indian national – told Guyana Times that they had only been operating the electronic business for about 10 months now.
He related that he was informed of the fire sometime around 20:00h and when he got to the scene, the building was already engulfed in flames.
“When I come there was already fire in the building…We had everything in there – lots of computers and phones and so on… Everything’s gone now,” he lamented.
As news of the fire spread, several businessmen and women rushed to the scene to check on their businesses.
Also at the scene were Region Four Commander, Simon McBean and Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn. The Minister lauded efforts by the Guyana Fire Service to contain the blaze to one building.
“I’m satisfied that a great effort was made by the Fire Service [to contain the blaze] and also by the police for keeping control of the area. You know we’re just about 150 feet east of the GuyOil Gas Station on Regent Street so we had those considerations too in case the fire had spread. So I’m pleased so far that we’re getting better at this,” Benn stated.
While the firefighters managed to contain the blaze, up to late Sunday night they were at the scene to ensure it was all doused.
Back in February, the Sachi building, which was rented to a Chinese national, was completely destroyed in an early morning fire. Suspected to have started inside the building, the flames quickly extended to other parts of the structure.
The Fire Service had ruled that as an arson case. The Fire Chief had said that evidence was found to support that the fire was deliberately set on the ground floor and several other parts in the building. Acidic bottles and torches were reportedly discovered in the building by investigators.