Jan 13, 2016 News
At least 40 employees were left considering their immediate future yesterday, when an early morning fire, believed to have been electrical in nature, ravaged sections of Liana Cane Furniture Factory, located at Victoria Street,
Plaisance, East Coast Demerara.
Firefighters, who responded to the call sometime around 03:50hrs, found problems in fighting the blaze because of clogged drains in the environs, according to Fire Prevention Officer, Andrew Holder. He stated that water had to be accessed from a canal that was some distance away, however they did manage to contain the fire to one building.
The factory, a storage bond, and an administrative building in the compound were destroyed.
When Kaieteur News arrived at the scene the entire factory was already in flames and residents were complaining bitterly about the fire service’s telephone numbers ringing out. They stated that they had tried to contact two fire service locations but received no response.
The fire service took half an hour to arrive on the scene. Three tenders were dispatched – one from Campbellville and two from Alberttown.
The guard who was on duty at the factory at the time of the incident, stated that he was at
the front of the compound when he saw the lights in the factory “flicking on and off.” He stated that immediately after a loud explosion occurred and the building “sparked with fire”.
He stated that he ran for help at a nearby pharmacy and the owner quickly contacted the fire station, which contradicts the claims of the residents.
The fire officer in charge of the operation indicated that the blaze appeared to have been caused by fluctuating current in the area at the time.
Anthony Small, a resident living nearby, was seen pleading with the firemen to soak his house with water and other surrounding houses because they were fearful that the blaze would get out of control. “I was asleep when my sister started hollering and woke me up and said ‘get out of the house the factory on fire,’” he said.
He added that the fire spread rapidly and soon the entire factory was in flames.
Another resident stated that she was disappointed that the fire service “took so long” to respond to their call for help. She added that the fire trucks arrived without any water.
Meanwhile, a manager of the company, Jocelyn Dow, told this publication that she feared the worst, because upon arrival at the scene, the building was well ablaze. However, when the fire had subsided and daybreak came, she noticed that only the section which housed the machines and other equipment was damaged. The section which stored the furniture received water damage. She then opined that the implementation of fire breaks throughout the building prevented the fire from spreading and causing total destruction.
Ms. Dow alluded to the fact that the fire could have been worse if the planned shipment of raw materials, which included “lacquers and thinners” had arrived, however the shipment was delayed to yesterday. As she praised the fire fighters for a job well done, she says the main focus now is how to get the business back up and running and providing employment once again.
Liana Cane Furniture Factory has been in existence for just over 21 years.
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