Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2015 Contents GEISHA KOWLESSAR
It sounded like bombs were being
dropped and the ground shook so
hard some Maraval residents
believed they were about to be killed
by a major earthquake.
This was their description of yes-
terday s explosion at the El Pecos
restaurant at Royal Palm Plaza. The
business was destroyed on the
anniversary of a fire which gutted
its Ariapita Avenue outlet.
Apart from El Pecos, other busi-
nesses located on the ground floor,
Hurry Curry, Burger King and Gour-
met Foods, were also gutted.
Of the 11 people who were injured
and warded at the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital following the explo-
sion, four were described as critical
The explosion, which occurred
around 10.30 am, was so powerful
that shards of glass were pitched as
far as the nearby Super Pharm com-
pound. Parked cars and customers
in the carpark were also hit by flying
Kervin Edwards, an employee at
Hurry Curry, said while working the
wall came crashing down.
"Same time I saw a lady come
running towards me and I just raff
her hand and pull her in the toilet.
I took a minute before I chook my
head out and nobody was inside the
place except myself and the lady,"
Edwards told the T&T Guardian.
"I took my time to come out and
by the time we reach the kitchen it
was black smoke. The lady was in
a shock, so she fell and hurt her foot.
"When I came out everybody was
bleeding. The gas man who was
fulling gas... the whole face start to
peel. El Pecos cook face start to peel
as well because she was right in front
the fire. A next lady she foot split...
it wasn t nice."
Matthew Arneaud, who sells chive
on the pavement in front of Adam s
Bagels, said even from several feet
away a big flash was seen.
"I was standing looking down and
all of a sudden you just see a big
flash and hear a big boom. When I
come down the road I meet them
pulling out people from El Pecos and
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, February 6, 2015
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan offers some advice to Michelle Wilkinson
whose car was damaged by an explosion which caused a fire at El Pecos
restaurant, Maraval, yesterday. PHOTOS: ANDRE ALEXANDER
Richard Camacho, owner of El Pecos.
QUICK THINKING DRIVER
Burger King. All the cars in front
One worker said there was the
theory the explosion was caused by
a punctured gas line.
"The gas was being changed and
it is suspected the line had a hole in
it... it is not certain how it got the
hole but as it was as being dragged
on the ground the metal part of it
start to spark and that was how the
fire start," the worker said.
El Pecos owner Richard Camacho,
who was visibly shaken, said his first
priority was dealing with his eight
"Everybody is okay but a lot of
them are in shock. Some of them
got minor injuries and one of my
workers got badly burnt.
"I don t want to say anything that
I really shouldn t but obviously there
was an error there so we are really
trying to look after the injured now
and once we get to the bottom of
this we will try to rebuild. Some cus-
tomers and some people in the
carpark got damaged," Camacho said.
He said before the explosion there
was a large white cloud and strong
On his thoughts about the inci-
dent, especially since exactly one
year ago he lost the Ariapita Avenue
branch in a fire, Camacho said the
explosion was "unfortunate." Asked
whether he believed the two incidents
would tarnish the El Pecos name,
Camacho said he hoped not, adding
that it was not his fault.
Residents on Royal Palm Plaza blast
We thought it was
The driver from the North Plant LPG Inc who was delivering fuel at
the time of yesterday's explosion, Neville Rampersad, thanked God for
"When I hear the explosions at the back I run quick inside to see
what I can do but there was nothing I could have done but to run back
by the truck and isolate every valve on the truck and shift the truck
and try to get the truck away from the fire."
He said when he went inside he saw the loader bleeding.
"He went the other way and I ran back out to the truck to switch off
everything and get the truck out of site," Rampersad said.
Contacted yesterday, a spokesman at the gas company said no one
was available for comment as all managers were locked in a meeting.
It took about an hour for firefighters to bring the blaze under
control but even then, clouds of thick, black smoke were still seen
coming from the business places.
Chief Fire Officer Nayar Rampersad, who spoke to the media, said
about seven fire appliances from Port-of-Spain, Belmont and Diego
Martin were used and there were 30 firefighters on the ground.
Michelle Wilkinson had just
bought breakfast and was sitting
in her car parked directly in front
of El Pecos when the area was
rocked by an explosion.
As she was trying to start the
car she heard the loud explosion.
Her car's front and back
windscreens then shattered.
"My car couldn't start and I was
just trying it out then the glass
just came flying at me from all
over. Glass from the building also
flew at my car and some very big
pieces got stuck in my back
"I thought it was somebody
bombing up the place. I got
splinters to my head and pieces
of glass in my feet," Wilkinson
She said she came out the car
and thought twice about
But the efforts of Good
Samaritan John "Yardy" James
helped save Wilkinson's car.
"When I came over I see the
lady breathing fast. I took the key
from her and the car would not
start and she mother bring a
battery and I start it and move it,"
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