Quick work by Angostura employees and the Fire Service averted what could have been a more tragic event as a blaze gutted a section of the Angostura building in Laventille on Friday night.
After a meeting with the management team, Rahim Mohammed, executive manager of business efficiency and shared services, told reporters on the scene around 6.10 pm, smoke was seen coming from the bitters blending area.
"Our incident command teams, our fire wardens, they quickly contained the fire into one of the rooms and within quick time, the TT Fire Services came on site, and we had very quick containment of the area," Mohammed said.
He said the fire was isolated to this room, and no one was injured. Mohammed spoke to reporters around 8 pm while the fire service was still trying to put out the blaze. He said it was too soon to give an estimate of the cost of the damage or to determine the cause.
"I think it is not as critical or detrimental as it seems. I think we caught it in very good time, it was contained in very short order to prevent any widespread damage, so we are very fortunate and happy for the work of the teams."
Mohammed also does not expect that it will affect the supply of alcohol or bitters over the Christmas period.
"It is too early to tell. We have alternative supplies elsewhere, not everything was concentrated into this one area so we really don't see a massive risk at this point in time."
Angostura Bitters is a concentrated bitters often used to flavour drinks and is world-famous. It was named the World’s Top Selling and Trending Bitters in the Annual Bar Report in 2018.
The road was cordoned off during the incident, but that did not stop bystanders from gathering to watch. One such man was Barataria resident Manny Carter, who said he visited as soon as he heard the news.
"I was home and I would have received a call stating that Angostura was on fire. Now, at this time of the year, it's a hard time to hear that Angostura on fire, you know concerning the alcohol and whatnot," he said. "So we made our way down to investigate ourselves to see what would have caused the fire and whatnot ,but we ent receive that information just yet."
Asked by Newsday if he was affiliated with the company, he said: "No I'm not. But I'm affiliated with the rum they sell."
He said he hoped the company's losses, if any, would not affect their supply for the festive season.
"Besides all that, I really hope it's not much damage happen, and they could recover soon enough for the Christmas season that coming up, because a lot of people might be out of a job, and that's not good for the Christmas season."
Firemen and police were still there when Newsday left around 8.30 pm.