Mid-morning fire ravages upper flat of Diamond business complex
– millions in gym equipment destroyed
…owner blames Diamond Fire Station for lax response
An entrepreneur whose business was housed at the popular G3 Building at Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD) has lost millions of dollar worth in equipment after a fire completely destroyed the gym on Thursday morning.
The blaze, which started about 11:39h, completely gutted the gym. Other businesses in the building were saved by the firefighters. Up to press time, business owners are assessing the damage caused by the fire.
Among the businesses housed at the location are the gym, a restaurant, a pharmacy, a mini-mart and others.
When Guyana Times arrived at the scene, firefighters were working assiduously to contain the blaze to one location as business owners watched helplessly.
Deonarine Etwaroo, owner of Essential Care Pharmacy, told this publication that he was informed of the fire and immediately rushed to the scene.
“My staff tell me that the fire started on the top floor… they say that they saw the smoke coming out of the ceiling … it’s so sad to know a set of staff come out to work and they had to go home back and that’s the sadful part for me. When persons come for their medication and have to turn back from here, you see I’m in the medical field – we got a pharmacy, it’s not just for the business alone, but we provide a service with health care in this area,” he pointed out.
On that note, Etwaroo bashed the Fire Service for not acting swiftly to prevent complete destruction of the gym, since according to him, the Diamond Fire Station is a few blocks away.
“You can interview anybody out there and they would tell you how long these people take to get water. The truck from Timehri saved this building, till from Timehri and we have Georgetown and we have right here, we have a canal in front there. It’s just about half an hour they start get this under control,” a dissatisfied Etwaroo said.
On the other hand, Divisional Fire Officer Gregory Wickham contended that the firefighters did a professional job in getting the fire under control, thus disregarding the comments made by the business owner.
“After we would’ve received the call, we had two vehicles dispatched to the scene, after a period of time based on initial assessment we had a third vehicle turning up to the scene and by the use of those three vehicles and appliances, we were able to bring the fire under control, only the top floor of the structure was destroyed by fire, the remaining floors are safe…The Fire Service is, has been and will remain a professional body and we know the signs of fighting fire and so we would’ve professionally performed our job. Other people would have their comments, but I think we did a professional job,” Wickham noted.
In addition, the Divisional Commander admitted to having difficulties in accessing water to put out the blaze, noting that they made use of the nearby canal and the tank supply on scene to contain the flames.
“The water was receding back into the sea, so we went to the NDC and had them close the koker, so we have copious amount of water now so we can use, it took some time for that to be done … we used water that was available from the tank supply in the interim whilst we went and get that, simultaneously that was done we didn’t wait until the water was exhausted and then go to NDC,” Wickham told the media on Thursday.
In closing, Wickham reassured that an investigation will be launched to determine what caused the blaze. Assistance to extinguish the blaze was also provided by the Central Fire Station and the West Ruimveldt Fire Station in Georgetown.
Owing to the events at the location, there was a massive build-up of traffic entering and exiting the area, while a large number of onlookers were present as firefighters were still dousing parts of the building, where smoke was emanating from.