The fire at Coreas Mini Mart on Lower Bay Street, Kingstown on Sunday left around EC$2 million in loss and damage, General Manager of Coreas Distribution Ltd., Jimmie Forde, told I-Witness News on Monday.
Forde said that the company will use a vacation rotation scheme to ensure that none of the 40 workers at the store is left on the bread line while the building is being repaired.
He told I-Witness News that a person who works with the company from time to time saw smoke coming from the roof of the building around 5 p.m. Sunday and sounded the alarm.
The company has not received an official report on the cause of the fire.
He said that some masonry work was done at the building on Sunday.
“They had some little concrete work being done downstairs near to the entrance door earlier in the day.”
The executive told I-Witness News that the damage to the two-storey building and its content was extensive.
“The damage is close to two million dollars worth of damage. Most of the upper floor, a significant part of the upper floor, is gone; all the equipment, the compressors for the central air conditioning unit is fully destroyed.
“That is the area where most of the fire originated,” Forde told I-Witness News, but noted that he was not saying that this was the cause of the fire.
The company also lost all the computer equipment and most of the goods in the blaze.
“The whole storeroom is gutted. Nothing is left in the storeroom. One may be able to salvage some stuff from the floor down on the supermarket where some areas were not affected too badly, but a very small quantity off goods,” Forde told I-Witness News.
He said that workers are being re-assigned throughout the company, while others have been sent on vacation.
“… what we will do is a vacation leave rotation scheme. In other words, those who are gone on vacation now, areas where you have other people with accumulated vacation, when they come back those people will go.
“We will use resources in areas where we didn’t need to use resources mainly to keep the workers employed until we are back up and running, however long that is,” Forde said.
He told I-Witness New he will be better positioned to say when the store will re-open after the official evaluations.
The building and its contents were insured.
Some members of the public have criticised the response of the fire service, which is located a few hundreds yards away from the building.
“I’ll prefer to reserve my comment on that matter at this point in time,” Forde, however, told I-Witness News.