Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Fire at Singer warehouse leaves ‘significant’ damage

Published:Sunday | November 21, 2021 | 12:16 AMRuddy Mathison - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Firefighters work to extinguish the massive fire at a warehouse owned by Singer at 2 Ashenheim Road in St Andrew early yesterday morning.
Firefighters work to extinguish the massive fire at a warehouse owned by Singer at 2 Ashenheim Road in St Andrew early yesterday morning.

A fire of unknown origin that destroyed a warehouse owned by Singer at 2 Ashenheim Road in St Andrew early yesterday morning could not have happened at a worse time, said General Manager Sharon Spence Gibbs.

In spite of the tragedy, Spence Gibbs said the management of the furniture company was thankful that there were no injuries at the establishment that seldom had more than a few workers at a time.

While the general manager declined to give a preliminary estimate of the damage to the building, appliances and furniture, describing it only as “significant”, the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) put the preliminary estimate at one $1 billion and an estimated risk at $2 billion.

“We appreciate the support of all our suppliers and customers who have been calling with their concerns,” Spence Gibbs told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.

“This will be somewhat of a blow but we will restore the inventory over time and we look forward to serving our customers with the good quality products in a manner that we have been doing in the past. We will come back strong.”

SIX UNITS DISPATCHED

According to Assistant Superintendent Howard Darlington of the JFB, attached to the York Park Fire Station, they were alerted to the fire about 1:48 a.m. and six units, four from Kingston and St Andrew and two from Spanish Town with a total of 53 firefighters, responded.

“The men were faced with challenges of manoeuvrability; entry was difficult because of how compact the building was. We also faced challenges with water supply and visibility,” Darlington noted.

He said firefighters were able to get the fire under control at 7:48 a.m. on Saturday and fully extinguished at 12:54 p.m.

Darlington revealed that the JFB investigative unit has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire that appeared to have started inside the building.

In the meantime, Spence Gibbs said that the furniture company, which has been serving Jamaica for over 100 years with its present complement of 280 employees working in 20 stores islandwide, has two additional warehouses, including the main one in the Corporate Area, that they will be able to draw from to meet the demand of holiday shoppers.

She commended the firefighters for “the excellent job” they performed to put out the blaze.

ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com