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Fire sweeps through Kingstown store, displacing 40 workers

Fire sweeps through Kingstown store, displacing 40 workers

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The more than 40 workers who were employed with Coreas Mini Mart have been assured that their jobs are secure, following a fire that gutted the building on Sunday afternoon.

This assurance came from Jimmie Forde, general manager of Coreas Distribution Ltd, a division of Coreas Hazells Inc.{{more}}

“The employees are still employed. We will find creative ways to find employment for them within the company. I have already spoken to the workers and they have already been placed in different positions,” Forde told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday morning.

In the meantime, the general manager said they are sorting out the situation from a business standpoint as to their way forward, and assured that the mini mart will be back.

Standing just outside the still smouldering building, Forde said he was not in the country at the time of the incident and did not have the full details about the blaze.

“I really couldn’t give you much information, except that a fire took place and the building is in the situation that you see now.”

He stated that while not every thing was burnt, many of the building’s contents were drenched in water.

“The wooden floors were burnt out and so on and basically it was totalled, really.” He, however, stated that it was too early to state the approximate value of the damage.

One employee of the mini mart, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told SEARCHLIGHT that those employees who were owed vacation days proceeded on leave effective yesterday.

“We have been assured of our jobs when we get back and nobody will be left behind. The others have been placed at Coreas Foods,” the employee said.

According to the employee, a definite time has not been given for when the mini mart will be up and running again.

At around 5 p.m., Sunday afternoon, the fire department of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force responded to reports of a fire at the building at the corner of Melville and Lower Bay Street.

A fire tender, deployed from the nearby Central Police Station, parked on the Melville Street side of the building, but proved inadequate for the raging flames that had by then begun to spread throughout the building.

About an hour after the first tender arrived, another arrived to augment the efforts of the fire fighters and a group of civilians. The second tender, based at the ET Joshua Airport, parked on the Bay Street side of the building, but by that time, substantial damage had already been done to the building.

Civilians were seen on the roofs of surrounding buildings, pouring buckets of water on those roofs to minimize the chances of the fire spreading.

While firefighters did their best to contain the blaze, there was the usual verbal onslaught from onlookers who criticized the firemen for what they perceived to be inefficiency in putting out fires.

“Imagine the building dey right in town and dem make the building still burn down,” one woman shouted.

“Dem just wasting the water. They don’t know what they doing at all,” one man said.

Clean-up efforts at the building began yesterday morning.

When contacted, police said investigations are still being carried out into the matter and a report should be released some time today.

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