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More than 140 jobless after Water Street fire
By Ruel Johnson
THE fire that gutted most of the Muneshwer building has left in its wake millions of dollars in damages and more than 140 people out of jobs for the new year.

IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: A single stream of water is directed at the towering blaze
IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: A single stream of water is directed at the towering blaze

A distraught Mrs. Radhika Hanoman, sister of Mr. Armanath Muneshwer being escorted to safety by an armed policeman.
At least three companies have been wrecked by the blaze: Muneshwer’s, which has occupied the former Sanbach Parker building since 1991; a Subway franchise outlet started by Brian Yong and sister, Abigaile Yong four years ago; and Broadband Inc., a wireless Internet Service Provider, started by Brian Wong and business partner, Navin Narine two years ago.

The fire started at around 16:40 hrs Friday and spread quickly from its origin in the eastern part of Muneshwer’s to other parts of the structure. While firemen arrived fairly early on the scene, a variety of factors weighed against them being able to contain the blaze.

While on the scene, the Sunday Chronicle observed that some of the fire hoses were leaking at different points along their length, the holes ineffectually being plastered with what appeared to be masking tape. Hundreds of people had gathered as word of the fire spread through the city.

Owner of Muneshwer’s, Mr. Armanath Muneshwer commented that though the firemen present obviously tried their best under the circumstances, he was very disappointed with the fact that only two fire tenders were there to combat the flames.

Mr. Muneshwer told the Sunday Chronicle that the extent of the damage could not yet be established and that the company was awaiting the results of investigations by claim adjusters from their insurance company, Guyana and Trinidad Mutual (GTM).

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined. Up to yesterday afternoon, the fire was mostly put out though firemen had concentrated hoses at different parts of the burnt out structure to prevent still smoldering areas from flaring up again.

About one month ago, the Lombard Street building that housed the Royal Castle fast-food outlet, Mohammed’s Jewellery and Auto Supplies Company (ASCO) was razed when the driver of a container truck lost control and crashed into a nearby utility pole.

Meanwhile, another fire broke out in the kitchen of the restaurant at Kwality Supercentre, Regent and Camp Streets, early yesterday morning. The fire was quickly put under control by staff at the restaurant. Most of the employees of other businesses in the building were unaware that there was a fire.

Sunday December 21, 2003