Firemen work at the smoking, gutted warehouse on Wednesday 6 January 2021. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)
SHASTRI BOODAN

Member of Parliament for Chaguanas East, Vandana Mohit MP, has made a call for emergency shelters to be set up for hundreds of residents being affected by smoke resulting from a warehouse fire in Citrus Drive, Enterprise, this week.

The fire started around 6 pm on Monday at warehouses that contained supplies for Alisha Marketing and Sumeds Limited Poultry Equipment and Supplies at Citrus Drive.  Fire appliances from Chaguanas, Couva, Savonetta and Tunapuna battled the blaze well into Tuesday, and were back on the scene on Wednesday dousing the gutted material.  

Residents fear they may have to move out of their homes unless the smoke coming from the burnt-out warehouse completely subsides. 

Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit on the scene of the warehouse fire at Enterprise. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Speaking with Guardian Media today, the Chaguanas East MP said she has made calls to the Chaguanas Borough Corporation and other authorities, in a bid to set up emergency shelters for up to 500 residents who may be affected and cannot bear to breathe the smoke. 

She said she also had spoken with the Minister of National Security to get the Fire Services to send more resources to the scene.

MP Mohit said she was extremely concerned since no one can say if the smoke was carcinogenic and what would be its long-term effects on residents.

Residents worried about smoke impacting their health

Smoke still emanates from the gutted warehouse. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Meanwhile, residents at Dass Trace Extension said they have had enough.  Isaac Baksh, 82, said he had to wear his mask inside his home and was unable to breathe properly on Tuesday and Monday night.

Asha Basksh, 40, said she suffered from asthma and sinus problems. Baksh told Guardian Media since the blaze started, many residents have had to stay indoors to cope with the smoke.  She said she had to use her rescue inhaler twice on Tuesday, and take medication for her other ailments.

“That place contained chemicals.  I don’t think the authorities are doing anything about it. I don’t know if they are even aware,” Baksh said.

Issac Baksh, Asha Baksh, Seeta Rodriguez and Khemraj Ayoob—residents of Dass Trace Extension—say they are having trouble breathing. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Sita Rodiguez, 60, said she has a barrage of medical problems that include seizures, cardiac issues and breathing difficulties.  Rodriguez said she cannot bring her two grandchildren to her home since they could not handle the smoke.  She said children in the community are at a disadvantage since many cannot cope with the smoke while doing online classes.

Khemraj Ayoob, 32, a diabetic, said he had to stay at the home of relatives and his 90 year old mother was finding it hard to cope with the smoke.

“I can’t sleep,” Ayoob said, noting that ambulances situated on the scene of the fire did not bother to check on the residents, to find out if they were affected by the smoke. 

Enterprise businessman, Harry Ramgoolie, says his business is filled with smoke. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Businessman Harry Ramgoolie opened his doors on Wednesday. Ramgoolie, who sells stationery, said he had no customers since the blaze occurred and was finding it unbearable to remain at his business place.

“My eyes and nostrils are burning, my throat is irritated and it’s kind of difficult to breathe,” he said.

Smoke envelopes a stationery store run by Harry Ramgoolie. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)