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Harmon business fire reveals deeper damages

by Nick Delgado

Guam - Local firefighters spent the morning putting out a structure fire at a restaurant in the Harmon Industrial Park. Although no injuries were reported, at least one tenant is upset that his complaints about the building being one big fire trap have fallen of deaf ears. 

Rescue units showed up to the Vanjour Restaurant at what was a reported structure fire. GFD Battalion Chief Roy Dirige says it seems the blaze started at a wood and tin structure at the rear of the building.  "We're suspecting that's where it started," Dirige commented.  "There's a generator also fixed through the building back there. The two restaurants flanking the Vanjour received a lot of smoke damage."

Nearby tenant Jim Bonanno says his workers noticed the smoke fortunately giving them enough time to help one woman out of the burning building.  "She was actually sleeping in the building at the time of the fire, it took my guy about 20 minutes to wake her up, if we weren't in that building, I think the outcome would have been a little differently then just this fire," he told KUAM News.

The frustration Bonanno has with the fire is that he has made several complaints before about the building being a fire trap. One issue he says he has constantly reminded the owner of Vanjour is to stop leaving their charcoal burning overnight in the back of the building.  "It's not a restaurant - it's a bar and they use that to serve chasers at night, and when we come in every morning we see lit charcoals behind our building every time and its constantly gone unaddressed," he maintained.

The resident says he has also made complaints about the building owner keeping the back gate, which is on a public easement, locked.  "If the fire is in front of them, my guys are trapped. That complaint has also continuously gone ignored by the owner of the unit at the end and the fire department," said Bonanno.

While fire officials continue determine the cause to today's fire, Chief Dirige says they too, are aware of the problem.  "The crews from Tamuning and Dededo have said that this building was on fire actually this restaurant over a year ago. We're going to have our prevention guys look into it and see if there are any fire hazards in the area," he said.

Tenants like Bonnano meanwhile are hoping the owners of Vanjour are cited, and that their concerns do not continue to fall on deaf ears.

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