Business operators counting losses after blaze

March 18, 2017
Firefighters view the massive blaze at the corner of King Street and Beeston Street in downtown Kingston on Thursday.

Several families will be affected as store owners and business operators have begun counting their losses, which combined have surpassed millions of dollars in stock and equipment that were destroyed during a fire in downtown Kingston on Thursday.

Although no life was lost during the ordeal, assets and other valuables used to generate income went up in smoke.

The proprietors watched in anguish as cooling-down operations were being conducted by the fire crew at the location along King Street, which housed several businesses.

"I operate the hairdressing parlour downstairs. I don't know how I am going to send my son to school because everything bun out. A 30 years mi a run the business. Mi just get a phone call seh di place deh pan fire, and when mi come everything gone. Mi stress out right now," Jennifer Combs told THE STAR.

Kevin Bundle, a barber who had his shop at the location, said, "After 8 mi get the call this morning seh everything bun out."

Bundle told THE STAR that all the equipment used in his trade was gone.

Neil Connery, who operates a photo studio, also said he lost everything.

"I have been operating the business from in the '80s, and now it is all gone. I need some assistance to try recover some things," he said.

Bar and grocery operator Sophia Ricketts, who is a mother of four, was lost for words as she stood in disbelief while watching smoke emanating from the dwelling.

"I have my machine that I rent, snow cone machine and all those things. A just yesterday mi buy 60-odd thousand dollars worth of goods, liquor, clothes. Mi nuh live here, is a call mi get. Everything gone hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mi place well stocked because it's my livelihood," she said.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

In a case of double jeopardy, her brother, David Ricketts, who is a welder, also lost his livelihood.

He told our news team that "My welding machine and all my tools burn up and destroyed. I was doing some work at her shop, and I left the equipment inside only to hear that the place on fire, and mi come see it a burn down."

Fire units from York Park and surrounding stations were summoned to the fire scene.

Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams, who was on hand, met with some of the business operators.

Their names were recorded. However, it was not ascertained how soon and through which medium assistance would be rendered to those affected.

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