Battling to gain control of the fire that destroyed the Plantation Diamond, East Bank Demerara G3 building was a major challenge to the Guyana Fire Service and this has been confirmed by Fire Chief, Mr Marlon Gentle.
He made this revelation earlier today while giving an update on the investigation into last Thursday’s conflagration which has reportedly left millions of dollars in damage.
According to the Fire Chief, although in his opinion firefighters were able to respond in a timely enough manner, the challenges started to surface from “the get-go” when efforts were being made to detect the source of the fire.
This, he explained, was due to the fact that the building was outfitted with a sort of attic that “nobody, at the time, was aware even existed.”
The Fire Chief revealed that the fire, from all indications, started in “that very attic” and was concealed for sometime before it was eventually detected. The late detection he linked to the fact that the building was not even outfitted with a working smoke alarm.
“Can you imagine a big building like that, with all these businesses, didn’t have a working smoke alarm to warn people that there was a fire?” questioned the Fire Chief who spoke of being faced many such challenges over his more than 30 years firefighting career.
“The guys were running around looking for the fire and couldn’t find it…it was a floor within a floor of some sort and it was a major challenge for them…the guys just couldn’t throw water on what they weren’t finding,” stressed Gentle.
Even as he vocalised his suspicion that “everything points to the fact that it was electrical in origin,” the Fire Chief revealed, “We have asked the Government Electrical Inspectorate to do an investigation and we are waiting on the findings.”
Meanwhile, the Fire Chief, in dismissing reports that his firefighters were not vigilant enough in their response, said, “Whenever we get a call that there is a fire, we are going to go and we are going to do our best. We feel bad that there had to be damage to property but we did our best and will continue to do this each time we respond.”