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Monday 24 September 2018
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PoS mayor on People’s Mall fire: ‘No one has approached corporation for help’

Aftermath of the fire at the People's Mall in Port-of-Spain that destroyed four shops early Sunday morning. Photo: Sureash Cholai.
Aftermath of the fire at the People's Mall in Port-of-Spain that destroyed four shops early Sunday morning. Photo: Sureash Cholai.

UPDATE:

PORT OF SPAIN Mayor Joel Martinez says none of the vendors affected by Saturday night’s fire at the People’s Mall on Henry Street have approached the city corporation for assistance, and he was unsure of the arrangement between their businesses and the corporation.

Newsday spoke yesterday with Martinez who said he visited the mall on Sunday and spoke with the vendors whose stalls were gutted, but there was no discussion of compensation or assistance for reconstruction.

“I don’t know what their business is all about, in terms of if they have insurance, so I’m not aware as to what their needs are. I spoke with a couple of business owners affected, but nobody has approached the corporation asking for any assistance and I don’t know how they operate, if at all.”

Martinez added that the corporation had no control over the mall and he was unaware of what the arrangement was with the vendors. He said it was his understanding that over the years, several fires had occurred in the same area and he urged all business owners to take precautions against such incidents.

Sources said investigators from the Fire Service visited yesterday morning and are continuing their investigations into the cause of the blaze, which may be completed by tomorrow

Newsday visited the mall and spoke to a vendor whose clothing boutique was destroyed. He said it was difficult to estimate the cost of the damage but was optimistic that in due time he and other vendors would recover.

“I can’t say for certain, but everything in the store, from the clothes to the sneakers and even the mannequins were destroyed.

“We’re not allowed to go inside the stalls, because they (the Fire Service) are still doing their investigations, but we the vendors are also doing our part to clean up the rubble along the walkway.”

Newsday went to the office of the mall’s CEO Husama Phillip but officials said he would be unavailable for comment until the council met to discuss the situation this afternoon.

At around 11.30 pm on Saturday, vendors in the car park opposite the mall saw smoke coming from one of the stalls and then a fire in a back room. Despite efforts to salvage goods, five stalls were destroyed.

The Fire Service was notified and contained the blaze. No injuries were reported.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Port of Spain Mayor Joel Martinez says that none of the vendors affected by Saturday night's fire at the People's Mall on Henry Street have approached the Port of Spain City Corporation for assistance and said he was unsure of the arrangement they held with their businesses and the City Corporation.

Newsday spoke with Martinez today who said he visited the scene on Sunday and spoke with the affected vendors whose stalls were gutted by the fire but said there was no discussion of compensation or assistance for reconstruction from the City Corporation.

"I don't know what their business is all about in terms of if they have insurance, so I'm not aware as to what their needs are. I spoke with a couple of business owners affected, but nobody has approached the Corporation asking for any assistance and I don't know under what terms they operate if at all."

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