An early morning fire has left four businesses with serious damage and the property owner wondering if the blaze was deliberately set.
Police said they were alerted around 5:30 a.m. that the building known as the Ice Complex at Hastings, Christ Church was on fire. Two water tenders and seven fire officers from the Worthing and Bridgetown Fire stations responded to the blaze which appeared to have started in the vicinity of a motor vehicle parked on the compound.
Juan Watson, owner of the vehicle and Ice Complex which houses a number of businesses including Delish Deli and a private office for Mama Mia’s Restaurant said that he understood that the fire started outside the Mitsubishi vehicle which was parked around 5 the evening before.
“My understanding is that the fire started with one of the vans that was parked here yesterday evening. We got a call from the fire service and the police department saying that the van was on fire, that it then spread to the building,” Watson said.
The property owner said he suspects arson but will allow the police and fire officials to conduct their investigations.
When workers turned up for work yesterday the shock registered on their faces.
Watson said the usual Christmas sales for the businesses housed in the building will be affected. He told Barbados TODAY that the fire impacted Zotabelle Hair and Beauty Services, Total Convenience Mini Mart, Delish Deli and the Mama Mia office.
“As it stands now, we have a few people out of work, four businesses that have been affected and obviously my heart goes out to them. But at this point, we would have to take it in stride and see how we could repair this,” he said adding that approximately 24 people would be out of work as a result.
His wife was visibly distraught and wept openly as she looked at the building which had been damaged in the flames.
“There are other people who suffered losses in relation to damage to their internal structures and stock and so on,” Watson noted.
“We have not been able to make a full assessment but when we do I do not estimate that the damage will be very substantial looking at it. It is more in terms of putting people out of work and disrupting business. But in terms of the physical damage, it does not seem to be very substantial,” he told Barbados TODAY.
One worker who did not want to be identified said she was shocked to see the deli where she worked extensively damaged by the fire.
“ I am devastated. It is a big shock and a big loss,” she lamented.
The owner of Zotobelle D’borah Blenman said a customer told her about the blaze.
“I was contacted by a customer who was passing by who said that she saw the police and the fire department outside of the salon and that the place was on fire,” she added.
“Right now I am unaware of the status of my salon as we are not allowed to go upstairs. So I really do not know if there is any fire damage. I know that there is water damage for sure,” Blenman said. Her business specializes in make-up and hair services.
“I am hoping and praying that it did not touch us in terms of the equipment, product,” she added.