Last updated on Friday, 8 January 2021, 11:17 by Denis Chabrol
A fire on Friday morning in the kitchen area of the Fogarty building damaged part of the building and caused business to be blocked by several shops in the massive concrete building located on Water Street, Georgetown.
Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle told reporters at the scene that the fire is believed to have been caused by a malfunctioning extractor fan.
Mr Gentle said the fireboat was located in the Demerara River for the first time to support the many fire tenders that received water from nearby canals and ditches.
The Fogarty department store no longer exists as an entity because the new owners of the colonial-era concrete building subdivided the building and rented it to smaller enterprises. Guyana Telephone & Telegraph (GTT) is believed to be the largest single tenant on the ground floor.
The Head of Fire said Guyana Fire Service had begun receiving several calls that smoke was seen emanating from the east end of the building and tenders from several fire stations were being used at the scene. “When they got here, they encountered heavy smoke conditions on the ground floor with smoke creeping to the upper floor afterwards. They were able to go into rapid attack mode and find the fire somewhere in a kitchen. The fire was already spreading through the ceiling and entering the business area of the store, ”said Mr Gentle.
He said the fire was isolated and eventually extinguished. The Fore Chief said the building is expected to be fully ventilated to remove heavy pockets of smoke from the building and confirm that there are no other pockets of building.
Mr Gentle said preliminary information suggested the fire started with an extractor fan in the kitchen rather than kitchen appliances. “I was briefed by the crews who went in (the building) and it appeared that something had gone wrong in the kitchen but I don’t think it was a machine. We believe he is an electrical fan; one of these extraction fans, ”he said.
The Fogarty building was purchased by La Parkan several years ago by Akbar Auto Sales for ALL $ 1.4 billion in 2014.