Shipping Corporation opposes Fire Service claim of arson
One day after Fire Chief (ag) Gregory Wickham revealed that the massive fire which destroyed two storage bonds at the Guyana National Industrial Company Inc., (GNIC) wharf was ‘maliciously set’, the company has challenged that assertion.
In a statement on Friday, five days after the fire, GNIC said there has been no conclusive evidence of an alleged arson.
Millions of dollars in vehicles and other imported items were destroyed at the Laparkan and Tropical Shipping bonds. The GNIC was renting these bonds to the two shipping companies.
The Fire Chief (ag) had claimed that “a set of activities” were done on the night of the fire which led his investigators to believe that it was maliciously set.
While he could not say whether there are persons of interest, Wickham had told the News Room that it is now the police’s job to go after the suspects.
In its response to media reports, GNIC said it was still is in the process of obtaining an official report on the findings backed by evidence.
GNIC said that contrary to reports in some sections of the media, its Fire Prevention System met the basic requirements and was installed in all of its departments with an adequate complement of fire extinguishers.
It was the fire service that said the wharf was not equipped with firefighting equipment.
GNIC said the other “significant misleading statement” is the insinuation that the fire might have been caused by improper storage of chemicals, noting it is totally false and without substance.
The fire started just before midnight on January 16 at Lombard and Broad Streets in Georgetown on the northern side of the bond.
A total of 11 vehicles were destroyed, five were severely damaged and three others were slightly damaged. The majority of the vehicles were bought by private citizens.
Meanwhile, Laparkan also suffered the loss of one Bobcat machine, a quantity of office furniture, gas cylinders, crates of energy drinks, three 40 feet containers containing electrical cables and flex hoses, three electrical transformers and three 40 feet refrigeration containers.
The fire also ruined propane cylinders, several barrels containing foodstuff, clothing, household appliances and other items.
Tropical Shipping sustained water damage and minor fire damage.
Several companies, as well as private citizens, use Laparkan to import items here.