Early morning fire guts several Regent Street businesses
An elderly businessman collapsed and was pronounced dead at the hospital just as the early morning fire on Regent Street was approaching his building which housed his business and home. The man was pulled from the burning building by his son but it was just too late.
The fire began just around 5 this morning at one of the Chinese Stores on Regent Street between camp and Alexander streets. A number of Chinese nationals had to be rescued from the building.
The fire service responded promptly but the blaze soon got out of control and cris crossed to the nearby buildings which housed several boutiques and electronic stores.
Members of the pubic came out and some assisted the fire men as they moved in, to douse the flames but the fire was spreading quickly to the wooden buildings and with just two fire tenders at the Regent street seen, it appeared as though the fire service became overwhelmed. When Capitol News arrived on the scene, the fire was at least 2 buildings away from the popular Lucky Dollar Home Furnishing and electronic store, but with the firemen unable to contain the blaze to the building where the fire started, it soon moved its way through 3 other buildings and engulfed the Lucky Dollar store as employees and managers looked on helplessly, not being able to fight back tears and disgust.
The fire engulfed the Lucky Dollar store and firemen were forced to retreat as the flames became too much for them. One of the large fire tenders was brought in as the fire threatened the nearby City Mall which houses dozens of businesses. The fire was eventually contained before reaching the mall, however there were some damage to the building.
Some businessmen rushed to their stores and removed their stock as the fire swept through. Over the past 3 years there have been a number of fires along Regent Street and every time fire strikes in this busy shopping area, the fire service would never be able to contain the blaze to just one building. Fire hydrants in the area are not working and have been in disrepair for years. The fire service was forced to source water from trench at Church and Camp Street and another at Alexander and south road. Fire Chief Marlon Gentle said working fire hydrants would have been of much help.
He said the Guyana Fire Service responded as soon as it got the call at the central fire station. When asked why there was not a much bigger response he said fire tenders had to come from different stations.
The origin of the fire is unknown. The fire chief said they have tried talking to the owners of the Chinese store where the fire began but there was that language barrier. Businesses in the area are counting hundreds of millions of dollars in damage this evening.