Hardware bond fire: Welding near foam mattresses ignited massive blaze; firefighters injured

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The massive fire that engulfed the Z. Mohammed and Sons hardware store bond at Felicity, East Coast of Demerara (ECD), started when flying embers from welding done inside came into contact with foam mattresses stored there, the Guyana Fire Service said in a release.

According to the Fire Service, the fire was reported at 16:35hrs and by 16:5hrs, fire engines started to respond to the incident.

Firefighters from the Central, West Ruimveldt, Alberttown, Campbellville, and Melanie fire stations, along with two ambulances and Emergency Medical Technicians, were reportedly dispatched to the location.

“…. While the Guyana Fire Service had difficulty arriving at the location due to rush hour traffic and vehicle blockages at the site, the first appliance arrived on the scene at 16:51hrs, and firefighters managed to get the fire under control by 18:00hrs, using original tank supply and foam,” the release said.

Subsequent investigations revealed that welding was being done in close proximity to a foam mattress inside the bond. Consequently, flying embers subsequently came into contact with the mattress and ignited.

It was also noted that there were no fire suppressants (such as fire extinguishers or smoke detectors) within the building and that the correct safety measures were not being followed.

Those shortcomings, coupled with the presence of highly flammable materials in the bond, made the fire hard to control.

The Fire Service also noted that two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation and were transported to the hospital. There were no other injuries.

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