Officials work to determine cause of Port fire - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Officials work to determine cause of Port fire

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An investigation is underway over a structure fire to the Port Authority of Guam's administrative building that ignited Monday night.

While the sky was clear today, the air however still smelled of smoke. "A lot of smoke, the visibility initially from one part of the building to another through the glass doors it was not clear at all, it was filled with smoke," said Port Authority general manager Joanne Brown, describing the scene from Monday night when a structure fire was reported at the port's administrative building. "Last night there was a call a little after 7:30 in the evening that there was a fire located in the Customs areas of the Port Administration Building, so GFD quickly responded it took about almost up to 10 o'clock last night to put out the fire."

According to Guam Fire Department Captain Andy Arceo, engine units from Piti, Agat and Tamuning responded to the scene and had the fire under control by 9:29pm. Brown however tells KUAM that a second and third fire re-ignited early this morning. "There is significant damage, I've not entered the building, but just looking through the windows early this morning, significant damage to the customs office, damage to the Port's Human Resources Department and I'm not quite sure, but we're also a little concerned about the adjacent CTSI operations that is on the other side of the Customs office," she said.

Brown says while the second floor was not impacted by the fire, every single surface of the Port Admin Building has black soot from the smoke. As for services, brown says there might be some delay to operations as the port had to shut off power to the entire administrative building. "Our yard operations are still ongoing, we had a vessel that left at 4:30am this morning and we have another one coming in at 4pm this afternoon," Brown said. "So as far as the rest of the port and making sure that our cargo is still moving that is moving forward."

And while the extent of the damage has yet to be determined, Brown says what is important is that no one was injured. "We did have one of the workers and one of the private companies was here and we also had our employees at the Harbormaster Office. Harbormaster, like Port Police, is a 24-hour operation, so we had to evacuate our employees from the third floor as well," she added.

The port parking lot meanwhile was vacated today with staff having to utilize the port's training room and command center as GFD continued the investigation. Captain Arceo could not disclose the cause of the fire as it is still under investigation. Brown says the next steps is having the port's safety and maintenance divisions conduct an assessment along with the port's insurance adjuster. She adds management will spend the night airing out the building followed by a cleanup.

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