By Theckla Gunga EMTV Port Moresby
A quiet night at the Gerehu Suburban erupted with noise when opportunists tried to loot the surrounding shops.
The Papindo Supermarket and Department stores in Port Moresby’s Gerehu suburb went up in flames after firefighters were not able to contain the fire which started in the nearby Bismillah Wholesale, just two meters away.
The initial fire started at 12midnight and by 3 am this morning (September 24, 2018), all three shops were up in flames. The flames rose to about 10 meters high, posing an explosion threat as the Fuel station was within a few steps from the initial fire.
Firefighters arrived but did little to save the nearby Papindo Shops, by 1:30 am; the flames had spread across Papindo’s Supermarket.
And while police and security personnel watched on, opportunists grabbed what they could. Despite some gunshots were fired, opportunists fled only to return and continue the looting.
The cause of the fire remarks unknown at this stage, but it is a sad day for owners, shareholders and employees of the three shops.
Papindo is the only shop in Gerehu that competes with Bismillah, a Bangladesh owned and operated business arm. Bismillah has bought off TST, another shopping center in Gerehu. Initially, it was a Supermarket store, but it is now expanding into selling Fuel and Tyre services and opened has Hardware store.
This morning, the looting continued. Opportunists walked away with anything they could grab. This includes cables, fences, tanks, and even marbles.
Meanwhile NCD Governor, Powes Parkop says the Commission will be looking at ways to improve the operations of the fire department in Port Moresby.
It has been over 20 years since such a massive fire destroyed shops at the Gerehu area.