Fire officials suppressed a blaze at the Colonnade Mall in Bridgetown on Monday morning, preventing what could have been a catastrophe in the City.
However, up to Monday night, businesses in the mall which is situated along Broad Street at its junction with Prince William Street, were yet to be given the all-clear to resume operations.
There were no reports of injury and the damage from the fire was described as “minor”, according to Police Public Relations Officer Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss.
The cause of the fire is still to be determined.
Twenty fire officers along with six fire tenders responded to the scene after receiving the call around 6:50 a.m.
Acting Fire Chief Henderson Patrick told the media the fire was brought under control around 10:36 a.m.
“At present, the larger part of the mall is cleared of all of the smoke that presented some challenges earlier this morning. We have been able to ventilate both laterally and vertically to be able to address that problem. The slight setback that we had was additional rubbish that was located in the supermarket . . . and the officers have brought that situation under control.
“The only thing we are doing at present is some mop-up operations ensuring that all of the building is cleared of all of the smoke that is present and once that is accomplished then we will go into investigation mode to determine what may have caused the fire in the first place,” he said, as he advised owners of the retail stores to stay away from the building until further notice.
“What we will also do at this particular point in time is give the all-clear to the surrounding buildings to reoccupy their facilities, because we have made some checks and we have determined that the adjacent buildings are in a good enough condition for them to continue their business as normal.
“We will also advise those persons who occupy the Colonnade Mall in particular that they will not be able to conduct any business or occupy those spaces until they receive further instructions from the police department and fire department. So those persons who may be in the area and were thinking about going inside the building, that is not going to be possible at this time. We have to ensure that we check the air quality inside the building. We will engage the Labour Department for that in a short period of time and an investigation has to be conducted . . . ,” the acting fire chief stated.
Facility Manager at the Colonnade Mall, Chitra Thani was also waiting for an update from the fire officials.
“In terms of how many tenants have been affected I can’t tell you because they haven’t told us. So waiting for them to give me some information, all I know is that there was a lot of smoke damage,” Thani said as she disclosed that she first heard the news of the fire from the tenants of the Alladin store located on the Swan Street side of the building.
Democratic Labour Party candidate for the City, Kemar Stuart, who was also on the scene to offer support to the affected businesses, thanked fire officers for quelling the danger.
“I would hope that the owners of the building can regroup in a timely manner and get persons back into work. Given that we are having some challenges economically in the country, now is an important time of having people back out to work . . . so I really hope we can remedy this situation as swiftly as possible,” he said. (FW)