Fire Rips Through 'Iconic' Tabari Place Shopping Center In Port Moresby

Damage estimated in the millions as several shops, private clincics, Johnson's Pharmacies destroyed in Boroko

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, March 27, 2017) – The iconic Tabari Place shopping centre at Boroko in Moresby Northeast went up in flames last week causing an estimated millions of kina in damages.

Four shops, two fast food outlets, liquor and gambling outlets, two private clinics and Johnson’s Pharmacies burned down on Thursday night and Friday morning.

Several doors away, well-known musical, electrical and electronic appliances shop Chin H Meen was broken into and looted in the confusion of the early morning blaze on Friday.

Initially destroyed by fire last Thursday afternoon was Gutpla Kaikai, between Papindo Supermarket and Johnson’s Pharmaces, which firemen told local media they had brought under control by 1am on Friday.

PNG Fire Service reported that new fires broke out at Papindo, YMC, TDL Limited premises as well as the pharmacy and medical clinics.

Four shops were looted by members of the public, security guards and police, according to the shop owners.

No-one has confirmed officially the value of goods lost in the fire and the looting, although the PNG Fire Service and Police say that an investigation is underway.

Several owners of the affected shops said their shops had also been looted.

Two shops said they lost K10 million [US$3.1 million] worth of goods, building included, but the amount could be higher when their accounting records are checked. The private clinics put their estimated losses at between K2 million [US$616,000] and K5 million [SU$1.5 million].

A major shop which was not affected by the fire but was looted by public early Friday said it lost more than K5 million in expensive electronic items and many more electrical and musical items.

Residents of the Boroko area awoke to smoke, sirens and gunshots early Friday as the fire gutted the shops.

In the chaos that ensued, opportunists looted YMC, TDL Limited and CHM before police arrived on the scene.

Children and elderly people were seen carrying off boxes and plastic bags filled with store goods.

Police fired gunshots and tear gas which sent the crowd, including school children and early morning commuters, scattering from the area leaving the streets littered with electrical appliances, clothes, assorted plastics and other store goods.

PNG Post-Courier
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