A major fire, suspected to be the work of vandals, broke out just after midnight at the Belle, St Michael office complex of Jose y Jose.
However, quick action by a team of seven fire officers from Probyn Street, under the command of Station Officer Denton Foster, averted total disaster for embattled businessman Anderson Cherry, who has already been faced with a very challenging week on account of an angry standoff with Government.
Damage to the two-storey building was contained to the lower level of the commercial property by the firemen, who responded with two water tenders to a 12:27 a.m call and were able to bring the blaze under control within 20 minutes.
Cherry, who was present at the scene, said he was awoken from his sleep by a neighbour, who had telephoned to inform him that his business was on fire.
“This amazing. The whole place just burn up,” he told Barbados TODAY as firemen ventilated the section of the building that earlier went up in smoke.
Asked if he had any idea how the fire started, Cherry said it seemed to be the work of vandals.
However, the interim chairman of the Waste Haulers Association doubted that there was any connection to this week’s protest action by members of the group. They have been off the job since Monday demanding that the Government removes the controversial $25 tipping fee, which they say puts their survival at stake. The action by the private operators, who are responsible for about 65 per cent of the island’s garbage collection, has already resulted in several unsightly pile-ups across the country, even as Minister of Labour Dr Denis Lowe refuses to budge to the movers’ demands.
This morning, Cherry was not in a position to give any estimate of loss since he was not allowed by police to enter the building.
The businessman however pointed out that though the Belle property had been affected by grassfires in the past, this was the first major structural fire to occur on the compound.
Lawmen are investigating.