Gerehu shopping centres razed in late-night blaze

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By Jason Dom
TWO shopping centres in Port Moresby were razed early yesterday morning – with firefighters managing to stop the flames from reaching a nearby fuel station.
Police fired shots to stop peple from stealing from the Papindo Trading and Bismil Trading Limited shops at Gerehu Stage Two.
Gerehu Fire service station commander John Gareresi said they sent a truck and 25 men to the scene after receiving a call just after midnight from a security guard.
“The fire started at Bismil. It infiltrated the building very quickly,” he said.
“The fire somehow (spread to) the Papindo building as a result of a strong breeze. It swept some of the heat and flame onto the Papindo building.”
He said firefighters who noticed the new fuel station 20 metres away worked hard to contain the fire from spreading further.
“We also faced low water pressure but continued to fight the flames. The fire overwhelmed us and consumed both buildings.”
Papindo branch manager Michael Than said all the company managers living in the building got away safe.
He said they would assess the damage later after receiving the reports from the fire service and police.
He said the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) belonging to two banks inside the building were destroyed.
Chief Fire Officer Bill Roo said the work of the firemen was hindered by people who were trying to steal from the shops.
He said police managed to disperse the people by firing shots.

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