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Arson suspected in Subs & Salads fire

Last Updated on Monday, 16 June 2014, 0:54 by GxMedia

Triggering a huge fiery explosion to destroy the Subs and Salads and the Shell (Sol) Filling Station on Regent and King Streets might have been the motive for the early Sunday morning fire but the conditions were not conducive, investigators said.

A probe has so far revealed that the plot could have been an inside job because there was no sign of forced entry prior to the arrival of the fire fighters.

Investigators found that the surveillance cameras at strategic points inside the building were dangling from the wires, a sign that they might have been screwed off.

Experts said the planned explosion was unsuccessful because an extractor fan was getting rid of the heat and cooking gas and so prevented the building from bursting into flames.

Another reason highlighted was little combustive material near the source of the fire. However, a badly damaged plastic container with an inflammable liquid was found near the source of the fire.

A senior officer of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) confirmed that the cooking gas fuel line was tampered with. Other sources said when fire fighters entered the building about 4:20 AM they heard the hissing sound of cooking gas from the fuel line.

Franchise holder for Subs and Salads, Shareef Ahmad  said workers explained that the shifting around of the stove during cleaning could have resulted in the fuel line being disconnected from the stove. But a source disputed that, saying that it would have been impossible for the cleaning staff not to have heard the hissing sound which greeted fire fighters on entering the building.

The source further explained that if the fuel line had been dislocated during the period leading up to close of business, all the gas should have finished between 8:45 Saturday night and 4:40 Sunday morning.

Ahmad plans to re-assign the 11 workers to the Sheriff Street, Subryanville and Grove, East Bank Demerara branches pending renovation and reopening of the Regent Street branch.