Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Piggy’s fire leaves 15 jobless - Popular Port Antonio jerk centre, restaurant burn

Published:Saturday | September 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
Firefighters battling a fire at Piggy’s Jerk Centre in Port Antonio, Portland, which was destroyed by fire on Thursday.
Eustas ‘Piggy’ Lindsay (left) gives a statement to fire personnel after his jerk centre was gutted by fire on Thursday.

Foreshore Road, Port Antonio:

Fifteen people are now jobless after fire of unknown origin destroyed a popular jerk centre and a restaurant along Foreshore Road in Port Antonio, Portland, on Thursday.

Eustas ‘Piggy’ Lindsay, who owns the establishment, told The Gleaner on Thursday that loss of both businesses has dealt a crippling blow, not only to him, but also to the workers whose livelihoods have been disrupted.

“This was the last thing that anyone expected,” a forlorn Lindsay said as he surveyed the damage.

“Mi just up di road and get a phone call say di place a burn down. Four freezers did in deh, one standing fridge, some fan, stove,” he said, estimating loss at $6 million.

“This is where a majority of persons purchase their jerked chicken and festival, especially on Friday and Saturday. It is going to be tough going for the workers, all of whom have children sending to school,” Lindsay added.

Piggy’s Jerk Centre has been in operation for the better part of seven years and has managed to capture the hearts and taste buds of Portlanders, tourists, and other local travellers with its spicy jerked chicken meal, festivals, and fried salt fish.

The jerk centre and the restaurant were less than four feet apart but operated under different management.


Thursday’s blaze left five persons directly employed to the restaurant, including the franchise holder, jobless, while 10 persons from the jerk centre are now without employment.

An employee at the restaurant told The Gleaner that he was alerted to the situation when he heard someone shouting that the building was on fire.

“Mi just run out a di restaurant, leaving mi bag, phone, and everything when mi see di fire,” he said.

“When mi memba say three cylinder in a di restaurant and dem could explode, mi just tek weh myself. Mi couldn’t grab nutting because I was in a state of panic. Mi frighten to death,” he added.

He said that although the fire department responded to the blaze quickly, the buildings were destroyed as the plywood burnt quickly.

District officer of the Port Antonio Fire Department, Cordell Orlebar said that approximately two minutes after receiving the call, his team was on location, where they observed that the entire jerk centre was engulfed in flames.

Three cooking gas cylinders were removed from the restaurant, which was completely destroyed.

The firefighters also managed to save a sports bar in the proximity of the restaurant.

The Port Antonio Fire Department is investigating.