Chan Mow Wholesale was destroyed yesterday evening when a blaze ripped through the building, threatening nearby properties.
The fire broke out just before the official close of business and firefighters worked into the night to completely extinguish embers on the charcoaled remains inside the building.
It was not possible to obtain an official comment from the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) as well as the Police last night.
But a Spokesperson for the Chan Mow family said their focus is on making sure everyone is safe.
“What has happened is devastating but the most important thing for us at the moment is to focus on ensuring that everyone is safe before we take the next steps,” said the Spokesperson. “That’s all I can say for now. We will not be making any further comment.”
The fire spread quickly and the Samoa Observer understands that most of the stock – if not all - has been destroyed.
F.E.S.A officials arrived quickly with all the fire trucks in Samoa called to descend on the property.
There was a heavy police presence to re-divert traffic.
A firefighter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said their immediate focus was to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby properties – including Sunrise Restaurant, a gas company and the Apia Harvest Centre Church located behind the Wholesale.
A main gas bottle at the Wholesale posed a serious risk, he said.
“We wanted to ensure the safety of every one first,” said the firefighter. “The fire spread quite quickly but we tried our best with what we had.”
An employee who asked not to be named said they suspect that the fire started from the back where the meat is stored.
“We suspect that one of the freezers caused the fire,” he said.
“There are about five freezers at the back and we suspect that one of them exploded. It probably over heated and that caused the explosion.”
The employee said the fire broke out as they were getting ready to go home.
“We were just about to close for the day,” he said.
The restaurants near the building were closed immediately. The windy and dry conditions did not help the firefighters last night.