Electrical work ignites fire at Guyoil

Fire erupted at Guyoil’s Providence Terminal shortly after midday yesterday after fuel that reportedly leaked from a tank came into contact with electrical works that were being carried out at the East Bank Demerara location.

Less than 24 hours after a waste oil-fuelled fire broke out at the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) plant at Garden of Eden resulting in generating sets being shut down temporarily, Guyoil’s fuel tank area ignited.

Reports are that electrical works were being carried out in the area without the necessary safety procedures being adhered to when disaster struck. Flames were first spotted on one of the tanks and within minutes thick black smoke had engulfed the area aback of the Guyoil Service Station.

The blaze caused a distraction at the Providence Stadium opposite Guyoil where a cricket match was in full swing. Business immediately halted at the company and staff quickly evacuated the building. However, staff working in the area sprung into action and worked to contain the blaze before the fire service arrived.

There were concerns about the fire spreading in the compound via the fuel lines and resulting in a major catastrophe but they were quelled when the fire tenders arrived and wasted no time in battling the blaze.

Negligence was cited for the fire. Stabroek News unsuccessfully sought a comment from Guyoil yesterday on this. Officials on hand at Providence would not comment and when calls were repeatedly placed to the Head Office in the city, Managing Director, Badree Persaud was not in office.

Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir, who was on the East Bank and made his way to the scene, commented yesterday that the fire was a result of negligence.

He said it points to individuals not following safety procedures, adding that the Ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Department will have to visit Guyoil among other companies and go over safety procedures.

Nadir told reporters that his initial assessment revealed electrical works were being carried out on fuel lines at the company in what he said is a major area.

He said it called for extra precaution but there was a reported leak on one of the vessels containing fuel and this resulted in flames erupting. He said Guyoil was really lucky nothing major happened, adding that the damage appeared minimal.

The fire service was able to contain the fire in less than thirty minutes after a massive effort. Two fire tenders from the city were at Providence and around twenty firemen tackled the fire.

Only recently the Ministry of Labour unveiled the new look of its Occupational Health and Safety officers and announced plans to rigorously enforce safety rules at companies across the country.