To the relief of many who had followed the news with considerable dismay, the J Wray and Nephew Limited rum-producing company announced yesterday that the fire that destroyed some of its warehouses on Spanish Town Road in Kingston will not affect the supply of rum. Sections of the company’s property on Spanish Town Road in Kingston were reduced to rubble following the massive blaze which started just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The fire started in a section of the warehouse where wooden barrels used to store rum are repaired, according to a female security guard, who said she assisted employees in trying to extinguish the fire in its early stages. She said the blaze, fuelled by the liquor — some of which workers said were being stored in the facility for more than 30 years — proved too much for herself and the handful of workers to handle, and quickly spread to other buildings. “I was just about to go on patrol duty and all of a sudden I see the fire in the warehouse. About 10 of us tried to out it with the little extinguishers and water but it couldn’t stop, and is that time we call in the fire brigade,” said the woman, pointing to the bright flames which by then had towered above the buildings. Hundreds of residents of the neighboring Waterhouse community braved the sweltering heat and lined streets outside the burning premises to watch as firefighters, using cranes, attempted to confine the blaze.
General Manager of the Corporate Affairs Division, Greta Bogues said the fire did not impact the warehouses used to store its rum products. She said the company is yet to begin its assessment of the damage as up to late this afternoon the fire fighters were still conducting cooling down operations. She added that the area damaged was insured.
In the meantime, Ms Bogues said Wray and Nephew has begun to provide assistance to employees whose livelihoods have been affected by the fire.
The fire sent jitters throughout the trade ahead of the Christmas season when demand for the company’s popular liquor products hits peak. But no one was injured in the blaze, although employees who watched helplessly from outside the premises estimated that millions of dollars worth of goods went in the flames.
Wray and Nephew Rum Bar photo from kevin Littlefield’s photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevtherev/1032713520/