Fire at Joseph Lane building affects three business, with Chinese supermarket sustaining the greatest damage

A fire at the Rojenco Plaza caused damage to three businesses on Tuesday night, April 4, the Fire Department reports.

Reports say that, at 11:50 p.m., the St. John’s Fire Station was alerted that the Chinese supermarket on Joseph Lane was ablaze, and fire tenders No. 10 and No. 15 responded immediately.

On arrival at the scene, the crew saw smoke emitting from the roof of the Rojenco Plaza, immediately above the Xia Tong Home Supplies Supermarket.

Officers reportedly used the Jaws of Life and other forcible equipment to enter what they say was a well-fortified building and commenced fighting the fire with water from the tenders.

Three businesses in the plaza were affected by the blaze: The Nmoydia Royal Hair Design salon sustained smoke damage only, while the Maria Valdez Internet Cafe sustained both fire and smoke damage.  However, the Xia Tong Home Supplies Supermarket was

extensively damaged by the fire, which is under investigation.

In related news, the Fire Brigade is advising persons who need to light a bonfire that they should obtain a permit – which is free of cost – before doing so.  

According to Spokesperson Inspector Lester Bagot, a letter should be written to the Commissioner of Police in which the date, time and location of the bonfire are detailed, along with the applicant’s name and contact number.

The Fire Prevention Unit will respond, he says, and a date and time for inspecting the area in which the bonfire will be held will be agreed upon.  Once it is determined that the bonfire will not threaten life or property, Bagot says, the permit will be issued.

However, he says, it is necessary for the applicant to contact the Unit at least five minutes ahead of lighting up and quote the fire permit number.  After the event, the permit-holder is also responsible for cleaning up the area, the spokesman says.

Bagot warns that anyone found contravening the law – that is, lighting a bonfire without the requisite permit – will be prosecuted for the offense.  Conviction carries a fine of not more than $3,000 or confinement not exceeding six months.

Residents planning to barbecue over the holiday weekend will not require a permit; however, Inspector Bagot advises that they should have a fire-extinguisher on hand if they are going to do outdoor cooking.