IAN KEVIN RAMDHANIE
Caribbean Institute for Security
and Public Safety
After suffering an estimated loss of just over $1 million, owner of the El Pecos chain of restaurants is promising that his Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain, branch will reopen in three months. Speaking with the media outside his partially burnt business place yesterday, owner Richard Camacho said there had been $750,000 worth of damage to equipment and the structure and an estimated $350,000 in stocks were burnt. He added: “Thanks to the swift response of the fire officials, the damage is mostly superficial.
“They did a good job, I must say. They responded quickly, no one got hurt and they were able to contain the blaze and from what they told me, prevent damage to the structure. “We will need a new roof, change the plastering on walls, purchase new equipment and re-do electricals but beyond that not much. I expect to be open again within three months.” Camacho said in the interim the employees would be placed in his three other branches at Diego Martin, Maraval and Barataria.
Fire Sub-Station Officer (FSSO) Sylvester Reyes said the blaze started around 1.50 pm yesterday and was confined to the kitchen area. The cause of the fire was not known, he said, but the T&T Guardian overheard an employee telling another employee it was a grease fire. One of the 24 members of staff, Keith Gordon, told the media he had just taken up his shift at the restaurant when around 1.30 pm he saw smoke coming from the chimney.
Gordon, a cook, added that within three to four minutes the restaurant had been evacuated and fire officers from the Wrightson Road Fire Station arrived, saving most of the building. Divisional Fire Officer Cleybert Grayson said officers took two minutes to respond to the fire and when they arrived workers had already began to fight the fire, using extinguishers. As a result of the fire, traffic heading west was diverted to Mucurapo Road and traffic headed east to Wrightson Road. Investigations are continuing.