Businessowner cries foul in mysterious blaze

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A man, who has operated a variety stall for almost 10 years at the East Bus Terminal, is claiming that the booth was deliberately set on fire.
Devon Lewis told OBSERVER media yesterday that when he reported to the bus station at approximately 5:55 a.m., he noticed a fire truck in close proximity to his booth, it was only when he got closer he was told that his business place had been burnt.
Lewis said the red and white booth, which
was immediately next to Teba’s Cook Shop, had been repeatedly targeted by thieves.
“It doesn’t surprise me the building was burnt. We have had break-ins after break-in, sometimes twice in a week and we report it to the police. They [thieves] probably came this time and realised nothing was there to steal so they burnt it down. We don’t keep things in there, we take everything home,” Lewis said.
The St. John’s Fire Department responded to a report of a fire shortly after 3 a.m. and fire officers said the building was already engulfed in fire when they reached the scene.
Teba’s Cook Shop was destroyed by the fire.
Lewis said, although portions of his booth were not burnt, nothing was salvageable.
This newsroom was on the scene when the fire truck returned to the scene some seven hours later because charred rubble in the cook shop was still burning and had to be put out.
Noting that electricity was being supplied to the building at the time of the blaze, Lewis said, “When I came I met [the Antigua Public Utilities Authority], I believe they came to turn off the power because live wires would have likely been around. This was no accident because there was nothing in there to cause any fire. Somebody did this.”
Lewis, a Cedar Grove bus driver, said he would have lost the revenue stream from the structure, which served dual purposes. He added that on Fridays the booth was transformed into an entertainment spot with music and food.
 Yesterday, fire officers said it was too early to
determine the cause of the fire.

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