GUYANA: Laparkan fire reportedly started where dangerous oil chemicals were stored

By Wayne Lyttle – Jan 18, 2021 – Kaieteur News 

The popular Laparkan Shipping Company storage bond and the storage bond of another shipping company identified as Tropical Shipping Company were destroyed by a massive inferno, which started just before midnight on Sunday.

The bonds are located on the premises of the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNIC) Wharf at Lombard and Broad Streets, Charlestown, Georgetown.

According to reports, hundreds of millions of dollars worth in vehicles and other imported items which were stored in containers, barrels and boxes were completely destroyed by the blaze.     

Photos from the fire showing damaged buildings, vehicles and equipment

Several companies, as well as private citizens use Laparkan to import items. 

Speaking to members of the media, Commissioner of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia said, “As far as we could see, the entire commercial bond has been burnt so we are now taking an inventory of what has been burnt. Some vehicles also that were on the wharf have also been burnt up, so we will be doing an inventory.”

Statia pointed out that the GRA is also inquiring about the insurance of the vehicles, which includes Wranglers, Audis, BMWs, Fielder Wagons and others. According to reports, it was difficult to remove the vehicles since all of the keys were locked away in a safe.
Kaieteur News learnt that the majority of the vehicles were bought by private citizens. Statia said that GRA will facilitate the clearance of the vehicles and other cargo as soon as possible.

The authorities did manage to save some of the vehicles.
Statia made it clear, however, that the incident will not cause any setbacks as it relates to the work of the GRA department located on the Laparkan premises.
“I have asked Laparkan to try to get power back to the front office so that our operations could continue,” Statia stated.

This newspaper understands that the fire started on the northern side of the bond. A senior member of staff, who requested anonymity, told this publication that a ship arrived Sunday and a few staffers had worked late offloading it. At around 22:30 hours, the staffers completed their task and left the premises. It was shortly after the blaze erupted.

The staffer also revealed that hazardous oil chemicals for the American oil giant, ExxonMobil, were stored in the bond where the fire occurred.

A security guard who was on duty explained that at about 23:30hrs, he saw smoke emanating from the northern side of the Laparkan bond and he contacted the fire service.

Fire Chief (ag), Gregory Wickham, who was at the scene yesterday, told reporters that the fire service could not provide any information, at the time, as to the cause of the fire but he assured that this will be disclosed when an investigation is completed.

“As soon as they would have completed that we will give a release so that members of the public would know what was the cause of the fire,” Fire Chief Wickham said.
A subsequent release from the fire service revealed that a call was received at 23:37 hours Sunday about a fire at Lot 1-9 Lombard Street, Georgetown.

“Water Tenders #102 & #105 from Central Fire Station, #106 from Campbellville Fire Station, #107 from West Ruimveldt Fire Station, #112 from Alberttown Fire Station and Fire Boat #8, immediately responded to the location with the first appliance arriving at 23:42 hrs,” the release added.

It went on to note that, “Some appliances were able to bring the fire under control and subsequently extinguish it.”

The structure involved, according to release, was a two-storey wooden, concrete and steel building owned by GNIC and used as shipping companies, namely Tropical Shipping Company and Laparkan Trading Company.

As a result of the fire, the Tropical Shipping Company sustained water damage and minor fire damage. Also destroyed were propane cylinders, a quantity of barrels containing food stuff, clothing, household appliances and other items.

The Laparkan Shipping Company suffered the loss of one Bobcat machine, a quantity of office furniture, gas cylinders, crates of energy drinks, three 40-foot containers containing electrical cables and flex hoses, three electrical transformers and three 40-foot refrigeration containers.
Eleven vehicles were also destroyed while five were severely damaged and three others were slightly damaged.

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  • kamtanblog  On 01/20/2022 at 1:32 am

    Some serious defects/lacking in health and safety in the workplace !
    No mention of injuries/fatalities as a result of fire 🔥
    So many wooden structure in GT is in itself a “fire hazard”
    Move the capital further upriver to higher ground nearer CJ international airport.
    Not rocket science !
    Decisions decisions?

    GT can be Latin America Venice
    City of water and wooden houses


    Off my soapbox !

    K UK

  • wic  On 01/20/2022 at 3:02 pm

    I have long argued that the capital should be moved to off the Linden highway some distance from the CJ airport on higher ground. See my most recent posts under Guyana, Georgetown: Several parts of the city flooded after heavy rain and a few times also during the past year. As I noted, 2 days ago Indonesia voted to relocate its capital Jakarta for various reasons including continuous flooding.

    Its time those in power commence planning the move that could take 30 years or more but a start needs to be made.

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