– some 150 vehicles destroyed
Fire of still unknown origin swept thorough Akbar’s Auto Sales warehouse at Cornelia Ida,
West Coast Demerara, just after noon yesterday, and left in its wake a metal graveyard of burnt vehicles worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The inferno, fuelled by gasoline from parked vehicles, also destroyed most of the furniture and materials in a workshop that was located at the eastern end of the massive concrete warehouse. Reports indicate that the blaze started in that section of the premises.
Units from the Leonora Fire Service, using water from a nearby canal, battled the fire for more than three hours before getting it under control.
A Fire Service official said that at least 150 vehicles were destroyed. He lauded the ranks who managed to prevent the petrol-fuelled blaze from spreading to other properties.
“When we arrived the entire building was in flames. Ranks reported hearing explosions, which were the vehicles (with fuel inside) catching fire,” the source said.
“We are satisfied with the work of the ranks at a fire of such magnitude, and grateful for the people (civilians) who assisted us.”
Investigators were up to late yesterday evening still scouring the scene for clues about the origin of the blaze.
Munaf Hussein, popularly known as ‘Akbar,’ confirmed that more that 100 new and reconditioned
vehicles were parked on the premises. He was unable to say how many were destroyed, but estimated his losses in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
However, he said that all of his buildings are insured.
Kaieteur News understands that some customers had already made down-payments on vehicles in the warehouse. One man told Kaieteur news that he had made a $1M payment on ‘a brand new Pit Bull bus’. He arrived at the auto dealership shortly after noon to find that his bus was among the many others that were destroyed.
Mr. Hussein told reporters that the establishment employed about 17 staffers and that the property was insured.
The fire reportedly started around 12.30 hrs, when the employees were on their lunch break. It appeared that few staffers, if any, were on the site at the time.
Some residents said that they recalled hearing explosions and then seeing the warehouse on fire.
Mr. Hussein was at the Meten-Meer-Zorg Masjid some five miles away, when he got the news. By the time he arrived, most of the warehouse was ablaze. He, too, lauded the Guyana Fire Service for their efforts to save his property.
The businessman suggested that the blaze could have been caused by the presence of dried grass near his building. He complained that some residents often set the grass alight and said fire service ranks were forced to respond recently to several grass fires near his premises.
Akbar Auto Sales was established some 60 years ago, and was run by Mr. Hussein’s father, Mohamed ‘Akbar’ Hussein, who was gunned down in October 1, 1998, by notorious killer Jerry Perreira.
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