Up to press time this morning firefighters were battling to contain a fire at a Cummings street building which houses Ram’s Pharmacy and several other small businesses.
Based on what Stabroek News gathered at the scene, the fire started in the pharmacy just after 11 pm.
When Stabroek News arrived on the scene the area had already been cordoned off and firefighters were tackling the blaze. The electricity in that area was subsequently disconnected. Firefighters had an adequate water supply and utilized a nearby fire hydrant.
There was no sign of fire but thick black smoke was observed coming from the section of the building where the pharmacy was located. Loud explosions could also be heard.
About 20 minutes later fire was seen coming from the back of the building. Firefighters quickly sprang into action with guidance from Fire Chief Marlon Gentle and Divisional Officer Compton Sparman.
Later this newspaper observed the firefighters using a power saw to gain access to the building. Orange flames could be seen through holes in one door. Every time the door was opened slightly and water sprayed in, thick smoke belched out forcing curious onlookers to pull back.
Owner of Ram’s Pharmacy Lakeram Oudit stood in front of the burning building, staring in disbelief, despite the thick smoke.
He told Stabroek News that he had received a call that his store was on fire and rushed to the scene. He said he has been operating at that location since the 90s and had only had trouble with thieves breaking in.
He said electricity supply in the area was never an issue.
Two other stores were located in the building, he said.
According to Stabroek News archives, in December 2011, there was an arson attempt on the building. It was stated then that the building which housed the pharmacy and three other businesses was owned by former army officer Oliver Hinckson. A five-gallon bottle of gasoline, some of which had been poured on two carpets, following a break and enter and robbery was found in the building.
The perpetrator(s) the SN report said entered through the pharmacy from where they stole a quantity of drugs, cosmetics and other items, before pouring the fuel.
Meanwhile, when this newspaper left Regent Street this morning, there were three fire tenders on the scene and the firefighters with encouragement from onlookers were working to control the fire.
‘A’ Division Commander Clifton Hicken was also on the scene to assist his ranks with crowd control.