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Coronation Market untouched by blaze

Published:Tuesday | March 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Vendor Jestina Trought gathers hot peppers inside the Coronation Market in Kingston yesterday. The market was open for business the morning after a fire destroyed a number of shops and food stalls nearby. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
Mayor of Kingston Lee Clarke (left) and Town Clerk Errol Greene inspect the remains of several shops and food stalls, across from the newly refurbished Coronation Market, that were destroyed by fire in Kingston, Sunday night. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter

It was business as usual in Coronation Market yesterday despite the late evening fire which destroyed four shops in the annex on Sunday.

"You know how many people call me from morning and ask me if the market burn down," Jestina Trought told The Gleaner as she sold tomatoes and peppers yesterday.

"Me deh yah from the fire start Sunday and it never even really in the market," added Trought.

The blaze that was visible shortly after 8 Sunday evening had led to reports that the downtown Kingston-based market - which was recently given a multimillion-dollar facelift by Digicel - had been extensively damaged.

But when the smoke cleared it was discovered that only four shops, in the market annex near the corner of New Chapel Lane and Spanish Town Road, were destroyed.

Mayor of Kingston Lee Clarke, who visited the market yesterday morning, told The Gleaner that the annex was initially designed to be a green area.

However the shop operators were allowed to operate from there while the refurbishing of another section of the market was being done.

Clarke said initial reports suggest that the fire was caused by illegal electrical connections in the area.

Little or no help

That has left the affected vendors in a position where they will get little or no help from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation.

"The fact that it is the illegal connections (that caused the fire) we offer our sympathies and will assist with the other government departments that can help them like the Ministry of Social Security and the Ministry of Labour," said Clarke.

An estimate of the cost of the damage was not available yesterday, but the shop operators reported that they lost goods valued at millions of dollars.

One shop operator said while the fire only touched her building, persons looted the shop of goods worth almost $2 million.