Cause of Coldingen furniture factory fire remains unknown

The cause of the February 17th fire that completely gutted the Supra International furniture factory at Coldingen, East Coast Demerara, leaving millions in losses and some 50 persons unemployed, is yet to be determined.

A source close to the investigation told Stabroek News that the investigation of the origin of the fire remains inconclusive and the Guyana Fire Service is currently awaiting a report from the Government Electrical Inspectorate Division.

“…We can’t find a definitive answer that speaks of the cause,” the source said.

“There was too much damage and not much witnesses around at the time,” the source added, while noting that as is customary once it is suspected that a fire maybe electrical in origin, the Government Electrical Inspectorate department has been contacted.

Stabroek News had previously reported that the fire, which began between 3 and 4 pm on February 17th, had quickly ripped through the two-storey concrete building at Lot 30-31 Industrial Estate Coldingen, in less than 15 minutes.

The factory is owned by businessman Keith Moonasar, who also owns Starcomm Office Furniture, located at 230 South Road, Georgetown.

Supra International had been in operation for over 20 years, and manufactured and exported a wide range of furniture, including items for offices, bedrooms, kitchens, and outdoor patios.

This newspaper was previously told that the fire started shortly after the foreman, Yogeshwar Gansham, who had secured the building, and the manager had left.

Gansham reportedly received a call from the security guard on duty, who informed that smoke was seen coming from inside the building.

As a result, Yogeshwar immediately returned to the factory and entered the building in an attempt to save some valuables, but was unable to do so, since the entire lower flat was already engulfed by flames.

The Guyana Fire Service was alerted and firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival, they managed to contain the fire, and prevented it from spreading.

It was also understood that the fully insured building stored combustible and flammable substances and material.

Security guard Baichan (only name given), who was the only person present at the factory when the fire started, related that he reported to work for the 3 pm shift.

“Me been just come in and tek over and the foeman and manager was here,” he had said. “Now I sit down right out here, and it got two big iron door hay (pointing to the main doors of the factory). Meh see this smoke start to push out, black, black. Meh watch and just call the foreman back, and sey ‘bai ayo come see this place ah fire.’ By that time them bai couldn’t ah do nothing,” he recounted.

“The fire just start quick, quick, quick. You see company gah nuff thing yuh know, mattress and thing by the drum. The boss don’t waste time, he does buy nuff thing fuh he job,” he had added.

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