Sharon’s Mall: Smoke was too much; Fire Chief fainted at scene
By Shikema Dey
The Guyana Fire Service is not accepting any blame for the escalation of the inferno that ravaged Sharon’s Mall on Wednesday evening, completely destroying the building and leaving millions of dollars in losses.
The Mall, located at the corner of King and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, was completed gutted at around 19:30hrs; the fire reportedly started at around 16:00hrs.
When the News Room arrived at the scene on Wednesday evening, it was merely thick black smoke emanating from the building but later on, a loud explosion was heard and a huge fire engulfed the top flat of the building and travelled down, sending shards of hot glass flying into the streets.
Fire Chief, Kalamadeen Edoo, was at the scene on Thursday morning for the “mopping up” as firefighters continued efforts to douse fire pockets emanating from inside of the destroyed four-storey building.
Explaining the train of events, the Fire Chief relayed to the News Room that a report was received at around 17:05hrs and fire tenders immediately responded with two fire tenders. Upon arrival at the building, firefighters observed light smoke emanating from the mall and entered to locate the source, but this he said: “posed a tremendous challenge.”
“The building was in the process of closing off; the smoke was not getting to escape so we tried to ventilate and evacuate the building.
“Firefighters were presented with a situation whereby they could not properly search the building because most of the businesses were grilled.”
“Water was not the problem. We have water from the starting to the end,” Edoo explained.
Persons took to social media to express their dissatisfaction with how the fire was handled but the Edoo stated that the “smoke was too thick.”
Moreover, the Fire Chief said he had to be revived at the scene he fainted due to the smoke.
“Even to me personally, I was on the third floor trying to locate where the smoke actually coming from. On the third floor, I started to cough because the smoke started affecting my breathing and when I came out back, I blackout and the firefighters had to soak me to revive me. That is the challenge we faced with this fire,” the Fire Chief told the News Room.
Additionally, four firefighters were injured attempting to quell the blaze.
They were all rushed to the Georgetown Hospital last evening for treatment. The Fire Chief said that the two who suffered the brunt of the injuries are now on sick leave after being treated for lacerations to the head and limbs.
The other two were treated for minor injuries and discharged but were back on duty at the scene of the fire.
Based on information received, the Fire Chief informed that the fire originated from the first floor. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
The Fire Chief was also keen to point out that as a result of the fire, the Guyana Fire Service will be embarking on a campaign to ensure that business entities are in conformity with the requisite fire safety regulations.