The night of Tuesday, 13 October 2015, Gem left the shop as per usual, at around 8:10 pm. 3 hours later, Gem received a phone call on his mobile from a regular customer who lives next door to the shop. He was crying and told Gem that the whole shopping strip was on fire. “Come quick, come quick,” he said. Gem rushed to the shop, which was only a few hundred meters away from his home.
When he arrived, he saw six fire trucks and 25 firefighters fighting the flames that were 7 to 8 meters high. The fire had started in the Lebanese barbers’ shop next door. It spread quickly to the ‘Busy Bee Deli’ and destroyed equipment and stock. Arson experts from the police examining the incident soon established that the fire has been deliberately lit at the shop next to Gem’s.
This fire not only destroyed Gem’s dreams for a better future. This crime robbed him of the fruit of his hard labor and deprived him of the ability to provide for his family of six.