GFD investigating fire at People's Bazaar - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GFD investigating fire at People's Bazaar

by Nick Delgado

Guam - "I'm very sad because you know first time I have a store here an only two years it's gone," noted Maria-Amor Molina. She and her fellow tenants are left picking up the pieces after a fire ravaged through the indoor flea market at Compadres Mall called the People's Bazaar One. Several units were called to the scene to assist. 

Guam Fire Department Spokesperson Captain Andy Arceo was on the scene last night and recalls, "We got the call around 10:02pm.  Our first units arrived on scene roughly about four or five minutes. We've actually got our trucks from Tamuning, Barrigada, Dededo our rescue teams, our medic and our commander her at this time."

The smoke from the fire filled First Hawaiian Bank next door. The doors to the building had to be opened to ventilate the facility. Unlike last night's hustle to get the blaze under control, today it was a much calmer scene. Compadres Mall President Richard Untalan was on the grounds examining the extent of damages and what could have triggered the fire, and he said, "It could have just been that someone had just left an appliance on, it could have been anything."

GFD arson officials also came into the facility to inspect whether or not there are some structural integrity problems, some that they did find resulting in some shops including the bank having to evacuate. Inspectors were also called in to determine whether or not they could in fact reopen.

According to the Fire Department the portions of the building suffered substantial damage. "The steel decking with the concrete topping was compromised from the heat of the fire so we would have to repair that we would have to cut off part of the roof," Untalan said, adding that his engineer and an inspector from the Department of Public Works gave the all-clear for the nearby shops to continue business as usual.

While the cost of damages is not yet known, he says he spoke with his insurance company in hopes to get the unit up to par. "We'll get this thing back and rolling in hopefully 30 to 45 days," Untalan projected optimistically.

In the meantime, no injuries were reported, and Untalan says he has already informed all 28 tenants that use the shop about the situation. However, tenants like Mercy Calara who has been working there for the past six years says she has no plans, and that all she can do is wait, clean up and reopen. "I was shaking, emotionally; physically I'm not in good terms right now," she said.

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