Major losses suffered as fire ravages Laparkan Shipping Complex
…11 vehicles, containers completely destroyed
…insurance firms assess damages, GRA concerned about revenue loss
Authorities are still grappling to deal with the aftermath of a massive fire that wiped out the bond at the Laparkan Shipping Complex located on Lombard Street, Georgetown, an inferno that resulted in millions of dollars in losses suffered by the State, businesses and ordinary citizens.
As insurance companies and the Guyana Fire Service continue their investigations, authorities are putting systems in place to ensure business is now impeded.
Firefighters rushed to the scene on Sunday evening at around 11:45h in a desperate bid to save the hundreds of containers, vehicles and other items which were awaiting clearance at the bond.
Despite their efforts, a large section of the bond was gutted, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. At the scene of the devastating fire on Monday morning, firemen were still in action, as sections of the ruins were smoking.
Scores of persons had also rushed to the location in a bid to find out about their packages – many of which were damaged in the inferno.
Fire Chief (ag) Georgy Wickham told media operatives that the fire started on the North Eastern side of the bond, where the company stores imported barrels.
“Some of the challenges we would have encountered is the closing and the locking up of some of the areas. We had to break and enter some of the containers that were damaged. It was because they were all locked up… we had to cut a few of them to gain entrance. Some vehicles that were in close proximity, they were able to remove some, and then we were able to get closer access to the seat of the fire”.
“… I think the firefighters did a great job because they stopped the fire from spreading throughout that compound. We all know that the vehicles that were there, they had gasoline in them, and that would have aid in the inferno, but we managed to stop that…”, he underscored.
Initial reports suggest that 11 vehicles were destroyed while five were severely damaged and three others were slightly damaged.
Laparkan Trading Company suffered the loss of one Bobcat machine, a quantity of office furniture, gas cylinders, crates of energy drinks, three 40 feet containers containing electrical cables and flex hoses, three electrical transformers and three 40 feet refrigeration containers.
As a result of the fire, Tropical Shipping Company sustained water damage and minor fire damage. The cause of the fire as of Monday remains unknown, according to the Fire Chief.
Meanwhile, Comptroller of Customs Excise & Trade Operations at the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Rohan Beekhoo assured that authorities are working to ensure business is not impeded.
“This is unfortunate to me. It is beyond our control; I think it’s beyond the control of the company as well but we are now working with them to ensure that the business is not impeded. So, we just had discussions with them where we can work them to install or implement temporary measures,” he indicated.
Beekhoo also expressed that the GRA is concerned about revenue losses.
“Of course, we’re concerned also about the revenue and the losses to the revenue, but inventory is something that we’re going to work on very quickly and as soon as they get their act together, we’re ready to implement the temporary measures,” he explained.
Beekhoo explained that the inferno was beyond anyone’s control.
This publication was told that representatives of various insurance companies were on the ground and some have already launched their independent investigations into the situation. Investigations by the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) are also ongoing.
“The fire investigative team, they’re on the ground and they are doing the investigation work to come up with the cause of the fire and as soon as they’re completed with that, we will give a release to the public,” Wickham noted.
A number of shipping companies would use the facilities at Laparkan and the wharf to import packages.
This publication understands that many ordinary customers had uninsured goods at the bond. Scores of persons flocked the Lombard Street, Georgetown headquarters in a desperate bid to find out the status of their cargoes.
This is the latest in a series of fires which erupted at prominent locations in the city – the others being the fire at the Brickdam Police Station and at the Office of Professional Responsibility at Eve Leary.
A department at the Georgetown Public Hospital as well as Sharon’s Mall were also destroyed by fire. (G9)