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Raro Mart employees left without work after major fire

By Lisa Williams-Lahari - lisa.williams@pmn.co.nz

More than 20 Cook Islands migrant and local workers and their families are now left without work after last night's major fire that burnt down Raro Mart in Rarotonga.

Photo/ PMN.

Among them is new migrant worker Ailyn Guides from the Phillippines who was due to start work today.

She says she left her job of four years to take up the new post and is now wondering what her options will be.

She's still in shock and says she will wait for Raro Mart boss Don Carlaw to give her some news.

"I was suprised when my son said early in the morning 'Raro Mart is burning', I said 'What?!'. I'm shocked."  

Ailyn Guides was due to begin work at Raro Mart today. Photo/ PMN.

Meanwhile, families closest to the blaze say the winds carried flames and smoke away from their neighbouring homes.

Young mum Engara Gosselin says the heat and crackling of last night's fire was just metres away from their household, the closest home to Raro Mart.

Her family evacuated and waited more than six hours on the road as emergency crews battled the blaze.

"It was scary because you're trying to figure out if it's going to move towards the house... we ran inside grabbed all our passports and anything that was valuable."

"We just prayed and hoped that it wouldn't spread."

Engara Gosselin (right). Photo/ PMN.


READ MORE: 

Cook Islands police investigate suspected arson

Tags: Cook Islands,