Fire strikes MFK building, damage totals millions of dollars
Fire fighters had their work cut out last night before they finally contained a fire of a so far unknown origin which had engulfed the G. Bacchus Enterprise building (formerly MFK) on Hadfield Street, last night.
The blaze which started around 20:00 hours destroyed millions of dollars in stocks which were contained in the ground floor, which houses a supermarket and the first floor that stored household appliances.
The other floors of the four-storey building along with the items that were stored there suffered significant water damage as firefighters, using the state of the art crane used to fight fires in high rise buildings, battled desperately to prevent the fire from spreading throughout the building.
Their aim was also to contain it to the building since another major enterprise adjoined it. That business, Ashmin’s Trading, is owned by Lennox John
When the fire started the entire building was shut tight and the firemen were forced to break open the heavy metal shutters as well as glass windows to effectively fight the blaze.
Kaieteur news learnt that the entire building was secured since Friday as yesterday was a public holiday.
The owner was reportedly in Berbice and no one else had the keys, as thick smoke billowed from the few windows at the top of the building that were left opened.
After about 30 minutes of trying to break the locks, the firefighters were then able to access the inside of the building which by then was completely dark as a result of the electricity supply to the building being cut off.
The firemen, using flashlights, eventually managed to locate where the fire was and began controlling it, before it could threaten the nearby Ashmin’s Trading.
Fortunately there was no shortage of water, as the nearby hydrants were in working order.
According to a source, the sound of a generator being started was heard following by what appeared to be an explosion.
“I live at the back of the building and around eight o’clock I just hear de generator come on and then I hear, bam! We start seeing smoke from between the first floor and the second floor,” the source said.
This story was corroborated by a security guard who worked at a nearby building.
In less than five minutes firefighters from the nearby central fire station arrived and went into action.
Eventually, two hours after the fire started, the owner of the building arrived on the scene but by then the business had suffered tremendous losses.
Smoke still billowed from the building because it could only go up. A senior fire officer said that had the building been accessed earlier the fire would have been contained to the first floor. Instead, it spread to the other floors, fed by the flammable materials inside.
He lamented the absence of a building code. The building was too tall for the zone and that in itself created problems.
At times, the fire would break out at a location where it was thought to be contained. This caused the firemen to train their hoses from one location to another. In the end they fought the blaze from above and below.
While there could have been no inspection of the damage it was doubtful that anything escaped water damage.
The arrival of the owner allowed for easier access to the entire building and two hours later the firemen were certain that the fire was well and truly contained.