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Fire at Complex

Fire at Complex

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Up to press time yesterday, the cause and cost of the fire that ripped through one department of the financial complex on the weekend was yet to be determined.{{more}}

Yesterday, Monday, October 17, police and fire officials, as well as insurance personnel and members of the electrical inspectorate were going through the census office, in an effort to determine what triggered the blaze late Saturday afternoon, which destroyed the second floor census office, with further damage done by the water used to put out the fire.

Just before 5:00 pm on Saturday, the alarm was raised after smoke and fire were seen coming from the office on the north-eastern corner of the building.

As members of Cabinet, senior public servants and a curious crowd gathered on Bay Street, the fire department, assisted by other departments of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force was able to contain and put out the fire, in just over an hour’s time.

Despite the fire fighters’ efforts, their quick work was not enough to save important documents, related to the just concluded national census, from being destroyed.

Two fire fighters were treated for smoke inhalation; one at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, and the other at the scene.

A number of other floors and departments suffered significant water damage, which along with the fire damage, resulted in some offices remaining closed on Monday morning, as the majority of the more than 400 persons estimated to be working in the Complex, turned up more out of curiosity, than to do actual work.

Some employees were given the all clear to enter the premises, in an effort to see what had been damaged and what had been saved.

The building, which houses among other departments, the Prime Minister’s office, Ministry of Finance, National Security, Foreign Affairs, Central Planning, the Regional, International and Diaspora Unit, Treasury Department, Statistical office, Invest SVG, Grenadines Affairs and the PBX, was constructed in the early nineteen nineties at a cost of approximately $20 million.

Senior public servants said that they were hoping to have at least the Treasury department on the ground floor, and the Prime Minister’s office on the fourth floor reopened by today, Tuesday, as soon as electricity was reconnected to the building.

There are hopes that other offices would be up and running as early as tomorrow, Wednesday. Employees on the floor of the fire, the second floor, called the Finance floor, are expected to be relocated until further notice.

Saturday’s blaze is the first major incident to affect the building since its construction.

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