By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Considering that Nolly’s By The Beach Restaurant & Bar in Brandywine Bay experienced two major ill-fated events in less than four months of opening for business, operators of the establishment are now contemplating whether the fire that destroyed the business last Wednesday was a case of arson.
Simon Potter, one of the directors at Nolly’s, told BVI News that the establishment was robbed at gunpoint around August.
In the night of the robbery, masked/armed robbers stole just under $1,000 from the cash register, Potter said. The incident happened in the presence of staff and customers at approximately 9 pm.
The matter was reported to the police but the perpetrators have not been caught.
“Business had gone down after the robbery and it was just coming back up,” said Potter who has become suspicious of the coincidence of the fire and robbery.
“I sat and wondered ‘how could this have happened? Did someone deliberately set it [on fire]?’ I don’t know … the way the place burn so quickly, it is possible. I can’t say for sure,” he told BVI News.
We lost everything
While recalling the fiery events of November 13, Potter said the company’s three employees secured the establishment about 9:45 pm, as they would normally do before heading home for the evening.
He said he received news of the fire a few minutes past 11 pm. He then had the unenviable task of informing the business owner — who resides in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands — of the discouraging news.
Potter said the business was not insured.
“Not one thing was salvageable, [we] lost everything.”
Nevertheless, the business operator said they are “looking at the possibility of rebuilding.”
Chief Fire Officer Zebalon McLean told BVI News it took approximately 10 officers and some two-and-a-half hours to extinguish the blaze.
Despite their efforts, the flames spread to a nearby mechanic shop and destroyed several vehicles.
The fire chief said various substances have been sent for forensic testing and should be back in two weeks.
“We don’t suspect anything,” he said while responding to queries about the possibility of arson.
“We are going to let the investigation run its course,” McLean said, adding that a report will be drafted shortly after investigations conclude.
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