Fire razes Digicel outlet, variety store in Linden
A raging inferno in Republic Avenue, Linden completely gutted a two-flat building housing the community’s Digicel /Cell Smart outlet and a Chinese Variety Store.
Digicel reportedly lost some $800,000 in cash to the flames and an undisclosed amount in assets.
The owners of the Chinese restaurant said that they lost some $20M in stocks and personal items.
The huge conflagration which also threatened the nearby RDC building and Cresent Foods was fortunately contained by the valiant efforts of the Bosai Fire Tender,
which continually doused both buildings with water.
But employees of the RDC and a few public spirited citizens were taking no chances and opted to remove several items from the offices including important files
and other documents.
They were prompted to take such action after several blinds on the southern side of the building caught fire. A few men dragged the burning blinds from
the windows which were already shattered by the intense heat.
Some persons suffered minor burns to their hands, during this process.
According to reports, the fire started on the top flat of the building, which was occupied by the Chinese who operated the store, and a lecturer
attached to the Charles Rosa School of Nursing, Selwyn Lancaster.
No one was at home at the time of the incident, according to reports.
While the Chinese were unable to save anything, Lancaster was able to save a few small items, source said.
His pet dog, which reportedly jumped out of the burning building, was also saved.
Regional Executive Officer Henry Rodney, who was on hand along with several staff from the RDC, said that arrangements will be made to allow for
critical areas, such as finance and personnel work to be up and running by Thursday. In the meanwhile certain other areas may have to be relocated, until
emergency repairs to windows and a glass door are complete.
Meanwhile, Digicel’s CEO Gregory Deane pointed out that Linden is a critical marketing location, and so the entity will be looking to relocate
and resume business as early as possible. He added that even though Digicel lost $800,000 in liquid cash and items, the cost of which have not yet
been ascertained, the safety of his employees was of more concern to him than any material loss.
Digicell and Cellsmart will be engaging in talks as they pursue an alternative location to resume business.
Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo was out of the district at the time of the fire, according to reports.
Bosai was praised for their efforts by both employees of the RDC, as well as several Linden residents, some of whom once again questioned the
competence of the Linden Fire Service.
The Linden Fire service trucks, either had problems with their hoses, which some persons claimed were too small, or inadequate water supply, and had to
source water from the Demerara River.
This latest fire, comes on the heels of another one recently, which razed Linden’s oldest Landmark, the Christianburg Magistrate’s Court.
The building on Republic Avenue, though not as historic as the Court House, was in itself another landmark, as it stood on Republic Avenue
for several decades, and initially housed the popular Venus Fashion Store, which was one of the more prestigious haberdasheries in the mining town.