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Owner’s horror at Onion Jack’s blaze

Devastated: Richard Lines, the owner of Onion Jack’s (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

Onion Jack’s owner Richard Lines has spoken of his devastation after his family business went up in flames yesterday morning.

Up to $300,000 worth of goods might have been inside the shop when it was destroyed, Mr Lines said.

It is impossible to put a price on the sentimental value of the store, which Mr Lines inherited after the death of his father two years ago.

Wholesale industry manager Frank Lines had bought Onion Jack’s a decade earlier and taught his son everything he knew about the business.

Yesterday, Mr Lines said he received a call at 5.20am from Bermuda Security Group informing him of the fire, adding that he told them to gain access by breaking the glass.

He told The Royal Gazette: “By the time I got to Front Street, it was definitely a monster at that point. I just felt overwhelmed.

“I didn’t know whether to scream or grab a fire extinguisher. I was dumbfounded.

“There were these big embers flying up it was like you were in a movie it was surreal — unreal.”

Mr Lines said that on reaching Paget from his home in the West End, he could see the smoke “bellowing above” the popular tourist shop and tried to think whether anyone could be inside the building.

His main concern was the office of Bermuda Executive Services above the shop, but it was confirmed no one was in there.

Mr Lines, 40, confirmed the business was insured.

He said his aunt, his late father’s sister who worked at the shop with him, was devastated.

“My father was a real workaholic. He wanted to keep the business in the family. I was going to leave it to my kids.

“My aunt’s not good, she was very close to my father. She’s very upset.

“This is Bermuda history in the making, I have never seen a fire like this in Bermuda in my lifetime.”

Onion Jack’s, which has been running for 21 years, was also previously owned by Bill Carr and, Mr Lines believes, Teddy Tucker.