Lae’s Oldest Shop up in Flames

One of Lae’s oldest shops was completely destroyed in a fire yesterday morning. PC Woo, in Eriku went up in flames just after 8am.

Firefighters who arrived onthe scene struggled with poor equipment and eventually preventedthe fire from spreading to neighboring buildings.

Police also had to fire shots to ward off potential looters.

Just after staff had arrived for work at 8:00am, workers inthe neighboring building saw smoke coming out from insidethe PC Woo building.

Peter Koua who works atthe Horney Beooks yard oppositethe building saidthe fire could be put out ifthe doors were opened earlier. He took a fire extinguisher tothe PC Woo staffs soon afterthe fire began butthe PC staffs refused to openthe doors thinking that Peter and his men were looters.

There hasn’t been any official explanation tothe cause ofthe fire and investigators will have to look into that.

Within half an hour intothe fire, minor explosions causedthe fire to spread.

Whenthe fire service arrived,they struggled with poor equipment. They were assisted bythe members ofthe public. A broken hose was held by five men stoppingthe fire from expanding to Papindo Supermarket.

This isthe second fire incident in a space of seven months causing millions of kina worth of damage. And this fire has again exposedthe difficulties faced bythe Papua New GuineaFire Service in terms of funding, resources and equipment.

Scott Waide, National EMTV News – LAE

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