Hundreds of millions of dollars in losses went up in flames on Wednesday evening as fire gutted the Sharon’s Mall on King and Charlotte Streets.
A number of small businesses and law offices were housed in the building and all were destroyed.
The Fire Service was first summoned to the four-story complex just after 5pm after smoke was seen billowing from the third floor of the building.
The firemen found it difficult to ascertain the direct origin of the smoke as the third floor was quickly covered in heavy smoke and the occupants of the building hurried out.
At first, it appeared as though the situation was under control as only smoke was seen coming out of the building for more than an hour. But at around 7pm, large flames engulfed the entire building and quickly spread to all four floors, forcing fire fighters to retreat and keep a crowd that was gathering at a safe distance.
The firemen tackled the blaze from several areas surrounding the building, but there was very little they could do to save the building as the fire gushed through the entire building.
Some business owners on the ground floor were able to save some of their stock, while others watched on helplessly as the entire building was engulfed by flames within minutes and they gazed as their belongings were completely destroyed.
Many of the businesses were already closed for the day when the smoke was first spotted.
The fire shattered the glass exterior of the building and sent flames high into the sky with burning pieces sailing across to the street below and in the compound of the nearby High Court and other buildings.
Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn who was at the scene for more than two hours said it appeared as though the strength of the fire might have been underestimated initially.
He said from all appearances the fire appeared to have been moving along in some parts of the inside of the building while the firemen were focused on other parts.
The Guyana Fire Service has not determined the cause of the fire, but it is suspected that it might have been electrical in origin since there were earlier reports of a burning scent in the building from around mid-afternoon.
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