Apr 30, 2021 News
In wake of Sharon’s Mall inferno…
– Bar Association pledges to support colleagues who suffered losses from Sharon’s Mall fire
In wake of the Wednesday night fire, which gutted the Sharon’s Mall building, the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday issued a statement highlighting that buildings above two-storeys are expected to have the relevant fire prevention equipment installed.
In addition, the Guyana Bar Association has pledged its support to their colleagues who suffered losses and disruptions to their legal practices as a result of the fire.
According to reports, the fire completely destroyed the two top storeys of the Mall, which is located at the corner of King and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, while the lower part of the building was severely damaged.
The building housed offices and stores and other businesses and the estimated loss is expected to be in the hundreds of millions. Those who rented office spaces in the building included, lawyers, boutique owners and accountants.
The Home Affairs Ministry in its statement highlighted that buildings above two-storeys should be equipped with riser mains with hoses, fire sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, fire alarms, extinguishers and other relevant fire prevention equipment. Having those equipments installed, not only helps the fire fighters but also helps to minimise the damages in the event of a fire. The Ministry also stated that it regrets the loss of the building due to the fire that was reportedly electrical in origin. The Ministry also promised that a detailed fire report would determine the true cause of the fire. It was further highlighted by the Ministry that building inspections for electrical and fire safety compliance are mandatory for such buildings and must be assiduously tracked.
In another statement issued yesterday, the Bar Association not only pledged to support its colleagues whose offices were housed in the building, but also expressed its sympathy due to the tragic incident, which has not only impacted their colleagues but other businesses. The Bar Association further noted that, “In the tradition of holding for each other in Court, we hold you in our thoughts and prayers and as such will support you in the continuation of your respective practices.”
This publication had reported that Sharon’s Mall went up in flames sometime after 19:00 hrs. on Wednesday night. It was also reported that fire fighters had a difficult time controlling the raging fire, even though they arrived promptly on the scene.
Kaieteur News understands that smoke was first detected in the ventilation system by the caretaker of the building, who then alerted others to quickly evacuate. The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) was also alerted and they arrived shortly after.
Some of the business owners who were at the scene had expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the fire fighters. One man stated that the Guyana Fire Service arrived promptly but “wasted time…they wait till the fire start blazing then to actually start putting water on that building.”
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, had told reporters on the scene, that when he arrived, it appeared as though the fire fighters had the fire under control. However, he then stated, “But what appears to be happening is that it’s a concrete and steel building with drop ceilings and the fire is moving slowly…making it difficult because the fire is burning beneath the floor and the drop ceilings.”
In referencing his past criticism of the Fire Service, the Minister reiterated the need for fire fighters to better understand the types of building construction and the challenges they are likely to face when engaging conflagrations.
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