KFC lovers escape unhurt
By NALINEE SEELAL
Thanks to KFC's keen attention to the clearing of the disposable bins in their eating areas, no one was injured yesterday when a powerful explosive device went off at the back of the Independence Square, Port-of-Spain outlet. At 12.10 pm when the place was crowded with lunch time customers, KFC attendant Susan Pierre of Maraval, removed a garbage bag from one of the bins in the eating area, and took it out to the back between KFC and Bhaggan's Drugs and placed it into a large dumpster. As she turned away she heard a loud explosion and saw garbage spewing into the air.
The cleaner whose actions saved the day suffered minor injuries to her eardrum and was treated at hospital. The dumpster was blown to bits and shrapnel from the explosive device caused damage to a water tank. A strong smell of carbide pervaded the air. The 60 employees and patrons of the outlet panicked and ran out of the restaurant into the Brian Lara Promenade. Officers of the E-999 unit were alerted as well as officers from the police mobile booth located opposite the KFC outlet. Police officers responded in quick time, and cordoned off the area. Employees from nearby business places shut down operations as word spread that another bomb had exploded in the city.
Dane Darbassie, Chief Executive Officer of Prestige Holdings in a statement said that due to the practice of the continuous emptying of the disposal bins, it prevented injuries to employees and customers. He added that the round the clock security at KFC also assisted, and assured customers that they need not be afraid to return to the outlet to have their meals. Darbassie explained that because the damage was minimal, he was awaiting clearance from the police to resume operations. The Independence Square outlet of KFC is considered to be one of the busiest in the country and also one of the most profitable KFC outlets in the world.
The bombing which is the third garbage explosion for the year has prompted police investigators to believe that one person is responsible for the bombings. The first bombing occurred in a dustbin along Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain on July 11, which left several people injured. One woman lost her limb in that blast. The second bombing took place last month on August 10 at George Street, Port-of-Spain. That bomb was also placed in a garbage bin. No one was injured in that blast. Because of continuous rainfall that day people were sheltering when the bomb went off. Police officers have so far revealed that the two bombs were clock bombs which were home made, low density devices. The third bombing was also in a garbage bin.
Ag Police Commissioner Glen Roach who arrived on the scene of the bombing, just after 1 pm, said that the explosion occurred at 12.10 pm. He said that officers from the Bomb Squad, Anti-Crime Unit and other divisions from the police service responded and discovered an explosive device at the dumpster. Roach said that the police are doing all they can with the joint efforts of other agencies to bring the perpetrator of the bombings to justice. He assured citizens that they should not panic and go about their business as usual but with caution. He appealed to the public with knowledge about who is responsible for the bombings to come forward and assist the police.
Port-of-Spain Mayor Murchi-son Brown said that the bombings could hurt business in the city and called on the person responsible for the bombings to desist from carrying out the act in the interest of protecting the lives of innocent citizens. He appealed to the public to be more vigilant. The area between the police mobile unit and Independence Square into South Quay was closed off to vehicular traffic and members of the public. Police and soldiers maintained a heavy presence on the outskirts as the investigation continued into the bomb blast. A party of officers led by Snr Supts Errol Denoon and Leon Anthony as well as Special Branch and SAUTT officers were busy collecting statements at the scene. The Eye in The Sky Unit was up in the air but no officers were present inside the unit.
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