WITH thick black smoke billowing more than 200 feet in the
air, a devastating fire consumed Muneshwer's
building on Water Street yesterday afternoon.
Winston Oudkerk photo
shows Muneshwer’s building in
flames. Inset: The
elder Muneshwer (center)
contemplating his next move as he and family members look at the
According to reports, the fire seemed to have started at
approximately twenty minutes to five on the upper floor of the
southern part of the building, just opposite to Fogarty's
By the time the Guyana Chronicle arrived on the scene, the fire
had already spread to most of the building. While firefighters
bravely tried to quench the blaze - with many of the hoses
springing multiple leaks - staff of Muneshwer's and some from
Subway, which is housed in the building, were busy trying to
salvage whatever valuables could be saved from what can only be
described as an inferno.
Owner (Center) and family.
on the right was a former student at the New
Amsterdam Technical Institute
R. K. Sharma, CEO of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, said
that at around quarter to five in the afternoon, he was in his
office when he saw flames coming from within the neighbouring
He said that standard emergency measures were immediately put in
place at the bank, starting with the evacuation of most of the
staff; followed by the safeguarding of cash, client records, and
the bank's core computer system. After that, members of staff
armed themselves with fire extinguishers and placed themselves at
strategic areas within the building to prevent the fire from
spreading to the bank.
At the time this paper spoke with Mr. Sharma, he said that he felt
some degree of comfort that the danger to his business had passed.
Meanwhile, enormous crowds had built up along the streets leading
to the fire: police barriers had to be placed on Water Street in
front of the National Bank of Industry and Commerce to the south;
Western Union to the north; and at the junctions where it
intersected with North Road and Robb Street.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, Opposition leader, Mr. Robert Corbin,
and top Government and Opposition personnel went to the scene as
quickly as they could. President Jagdeo and Mr. Corbin said
separately that the fire was "a sad blow to the economy when
the country can ill afford such a loss."
Similar sentiments were expressed by businessman Edward Boyer, a
part-owner of the Royal Castle outlet which, along with Auto
Supplies Company and Mohammed's Jewellery and Gift Enterprise,
were destroyed by fire just over one month ago.
Doyen of the Muneshwer family, Armanath Muneshwer, seemed a
hapless man as he watched his family's business literally go up in
flames, last evening.
Asked for a comment, he could only muster a despondent, "I
don't know where to start..."
Muneshwer's has been in existence since 1948. It moved to its
present location on Water Street in 1991.