Restaurant destroyed in suspected arson

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An estimated US $100,000 in losses were incurred when Yakinuki Express restaurant at West Coast Village on the Valley Road was destroyed in an early morning fire, yesterday.
Derek Barrett told OBSERVER media that around 5 am, he received a call that a restaurant owned by his son Adam Barrett was on fire.
Claiming it was not the first time fire was “set” to the timber structure that is located outside Jolly Harbour, Barrett elaborated, “A few months ago, someone set a fire behind one of the buildings next door. It damaged the water tank that basically put the fire out. But this attempt was successful and took the whole building down. Sadly, the building was not insured.”
He explained that the fire brigade from St John’s responded in quick time but the police did not arrive on the scene until several hours later.
“Surprisingly the police did not arrive until after 10 o’clock in the morning, which I find to be quite unsatisfactory on the basis that they attended the first event a few months ago and they were going to carry out an investigation and clearly nothing happened. You can see the police station from the fire but nobody bothered to come down and have a look,” Barrett said, adding, whoever set the fire is a disgrace not just to themselves but also to the very people it directly affects.
Noting that Tracy Holness had been operating the restaurant for almost a year, Barrett said the operation can be relocated at another building he has on the same compound.
Barrett said, under the agreement, he provides a building, equipment and cutlery needed to run the restaurant and the operator is given time to establish a clientele before paying rent.
Lawmen said initial investigations suggest the building was deliberately set on fire.
Meanwhile, a family of four is homeless following a fire yesterday afternoon around 3 pm. Angela Rickman-Craig of Cook’s New Extension told OBSERVER media her three-bedroom wooden house which was uninsured, was burnt to the ground.
She said she, her husband and their two children – a two-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son- lived in the house.
The woman said she left home around 3 o’clock for a short outing to carry box money to the person running the box.
She said her son called her five minutes after she left the house and told her it was on fire. According to the woman, she hitched a ride to get home quickly and told the boy via the phone, to get out the house with his sister.
Rickman-Craig said when she got to the scene, she met the children unhurt but the property was destroyed even before fire fighters arrived.
The woman is asking for the public’s help in getting clothing and other items for her family. She can be reached at 724-4106.

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