Police are investigating a fire, suspected to be the work of arsonists, at a building situated at First Alley and Burnham Drive, Wismar, Linden. The building served as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) office in Linden, Region 10.
According to reports, the fire was detected around 01:55hrs yesterday by a female security guard. The security guard said that she was in the security hut at the front of the building when she heard an explosion at the back of the building.
Upon checking, she said she observed two men running west into First Alley, Wismar and the upper flat of the building on fire.
Only the upper flat of the building was burnt, as the raging inferno was contained by the Linden Fire Tender, which was summoned to the scene.
The building which is owned by Sandy London of Amelia’s Ward, Linden, was being rented by GECOM.
London, during an interview with Kaieteur News, expressed disappointment over the incident.
“This is so sad, it is just a building, it does not belong to GECOM! I just hope that this doesn’t happen, with any other building that GECOM occupies.”
She however expressed relief, that no one was hurt during the incident, and that the fire was contained by the Linden Fire Service.
London said that she bought the property about four years ago for $27M and subsequently did renovations costing several millions.
According to London, GECOM was renting the upper flat of the property even before she bought it. “We bought the property with them as tenants, and they have remained there until now.”
The building was originally owned by Samuel Chin-Foo, well known as Sam, and has been a fixture on the Burnham Drive for many decades.
The former owners had operated a general store on the ground floor while the upper flat housed a popular Chinese restaurant.
Meanwhile, yesterday was a hectic day for the Fire Department on the Essequibo Coast, as fire fighters battle to contain fires at two government buildings. Reports suggest that the buildings were deliberately set on fire too.
An abandoned training centre, once used by the Guyana Defence Force was the first to be set alight. The building is located in Maria’s Lodge, some 20 minutes away from the Fire Department, which is located in Anna Regina. Reports indicate that the abandoned building was set on fire sometime around 03:30hrs.
About an hour later, there was another report of a fire, this time at the Criminal Investigations Department at the Anna Regina Police Station.
Just last week, an arson attempt was made on the Suddie Magistrate’s Court. That fire was spotted early and quelled before it caused any serious
Investigators told Kaieteur News, that they believe there is a close link between the arson attempt on the Court and the CID office. Officials at both the Fire and Police departments believe that the methods used also point to the same perpetrator(s).
A source from one of the departments told Kaieteur News too that, “One of the things we noticed on all three of these arson attempts is the similar pattern in which the fires were set. At Suddie, the perpetrator gained access on to the property, drenched the place in kerosene and then started the fire.”
Sighting a similar pattern at the CID office, the source went on to say, “At the CID office, the arsonist climbed onto a fence close to the CID office, took out a louvre pane, drenched a spot in the building and then lit the fire.”
Police are said to be diligently investigating these matters.
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