The fire that destroyed a section of the dilapidated Stabroek Market wharf just before midnight on Monday is being treated as the result of arson, according to the Guyana Fire Service (GFS).
Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle told Stabroek News that based on information gathered, stalls 198 and 199 were set alight and he said a woman, who fled apprehension by the City Police, is being treated as a “person of interest.”
Gentle noted that the GFS received calls around 11.45 pm from someone in the Stabroek Market area and also from persons at the Marine Station, indicating that a section of the wharf was on fire.
He said the fire department was able to mobilise several fire trucks from around Georgetown for its response.
At the wharf, he noted, they found several stalls and a portion of the roof on fire.
Gentle explained that they were able to contain the fire, which destroyed 10 small stalls and damaged a few more.
Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, after an emergency meeting with city officials yesterday, told Stabroek News that the City Council is awaiting the clearance from the GFS before it moves to clear the area that was affected.
The Mayor indicated that there has been a fair amount of damage to the roof of the burnt section of the wharf and it is her fear that it may collapse at any time.
Chase-Green reiterated a previous plea by the City Council for vendors to leave the area. She added that those vendors whose stalls were destroyed have been given spots to vend outside of the market at the area previously designated for their relocation in order to facilitate the long planned rehabilitation of the wharf.
She went on to say that affected persons would have signed agreements with the city and she hoped that they would begin construction of their stalls as soon as possible.
When Stabroek News visited the wharf yesterday, a few persons were seen examining the extent of the damage.
A fish vendor, who seemed confused, stated that although he could relocate to another section of the wharf, he would have lost about $102,000 in property due to the fire. He pointed to the cover of a cooler, which he said was all that was saved for him. He added that there is nothing he could do but start again.
The damaged section of the wharf had seen a part of the roof collapse in July, which forced efforts by the city to get vendors to relocate due to fears for their safety.