Sep 01, 2015 News
…millions lost in lubricants
By Desilon Daniels
What could have quickly become a dangerous situation turned out to be a destroyed bond after firemen extinguished a blaze that had erupted at a GuyOil gas station in Providence, East Bank Demerara.
The heavy smell of smoke, the flashing lights of fire trucks and the heat of flames set the backdrop for the arduous work executed by the more than a dozen firemen who responded to the fire.
The blaze commenced around 20:00 hours and quickly engulfed the gas station bond which was located right behind the main compound. In fact, the bond was in very close proximity to about 20 gas cylinders that had been stored and awaiting sale. According to reports, the bond housed millions of dollars worth of lubricants and was always kept secured.
Frank Profitt, one of the security guards on duty at the time, was the first to notice that something was wrong. He said that he was at the main gate when he was jolted by the sound of an alarm. Warily, he made a check of the surroundings and noticed smoke emanating from the bond.
He sprang into action. After futilely calling the chief security officer he made a call to the Guyana Fire Service.
“The same time me and two other guards started to use the water pump to render assistance until the water tender come,” Profitt said, they were ordered by the managing director to cut off the electricity-powered pump.
“After that the smoke became a blaze and that was that,” Profitt relayed. “The person who has access to the bond, we tried to make contact with him but we didn’t get through to him…Up to now nobody ain’t get in the bond.”
The GuyOil employees were forced to simply stand by as the fire spread throughout the building. Profitt added that the bond had contained electric outlets.
All the while, curious onlookers – cameras at the ready – gathered at the scene as the sound of sirens heralded the arrival of three fire trucks. The Fire Service arrived less than 20 minutes after the fire began and the firemen quickly went about their jobs.
They managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to the nearby gas cylinders and the GuyOil mart.
Some onlookers expressed shock at the entire incident while others expressed the belief that the fire had been intentional.
Most persons kept their distance for fear of a possible explosion.
“This is what we’re trained for”
Fire Chief Marlon Gentle eventually arrived on the scene of the fire. In an interview with Kaieteur News, he shared that he was pleased with the operations and how the firefighters had handled the situation.
Noting that the men had not only arrived quickly on the scene but had promptly contained the fire, Gentle emphasised, “This is what we are trained for.”
He further indicated that the immediate goal was to prevent the fire from spreading. He said that the proximity of the gas station to a major roadway along with its proximity to an industrial business. Anyway spreading of the fire, therefore, would have been extremely disastrous, he said.
He further shared that even though the fire was contained, the firemen did not immediately stop operating their fire hoses.
“We had to keep cooling before we penetrate; we just couldn’t penetrate until it’s safe because we have to ensure the safety of our men; that’s paramount,” he stressed.
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) played its role by controlling the heavy East Bank traffic. As the firefighters worked to contain the blaze, police officers worked to ensure that traffic flowed smoothly. The eastern carriageway was turned into a two-way while, for maximum safety, the entire western carriageway was blocked off except to the disciplined forces. The roadway was eventually opened after the blaze was contained.
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