(Trinidad Express) Pedestrians covered their faces with rags and masks as a thick blanket of smoke laced with the fumes of burning plastics hung over downtown Port of Spain up to late last night following a fire which razed three businesses on lower Charlotte Street yesterday.
The rain that poured did little to extinguish the blaze which left approximately 30 workers without jobs and caused a traffic gridlock as several streets had to be closed off.
Fuelled by the plastic items contained in these stores up to 6 p.m. the blaze raged on as seemingly frustrated fire officers had to keep sending water tankers to be replenished as they battled the fire that would not die.
Fire officers declined comment on the availability of water but it was obvious that the fire hydrants located close to the blaze were not used.
The fire began around 11.45 a.m. in one of three stores housed in the three-storey building known as the Nahous building which is located along lower Charlotte Street two buildings away from Independence Square.
An employee at the Target Discount Store said he first noticed smoke emanating from the first floor of the building where mostly stock was stored.
Target Discount sells household items as well as items for the kitchen and bathroom.
On the left of the Target Store is Nahous and Sons which sells similar items. The other store located to the right of the Target Store, Joy’s Variety, sells hair products, clothing, fashion and beauty products as well as mostly plastic household items.
Most of the items stored in the Target Store were made of plastic and also packaged in plastic. The other stores had items packaged in plastic as well and, according to fire officers, when the fire in Target got out of control it quickly spread to the other stores, “in no time”, according to a fire officer who did not want to be named.