On Tuesday January 7th around 9.26 PM the Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department received notice there was a fire in a home in Upper Town in the Bottom. The Fire Department arrived on the scene at approximately 9.40 PM and discovered the structure engulfed in flames. Their first course of action was to lay a water barrier to prevent the further spread of the fire to homes in the immediate surroundings. The complete exercise lasted approximately five hours. The occupants of the home are safe. Police is now investigating the cause of the fire.
In trying to contain the situation Local Fire Commander, Julio Every, reported that his team had faced several challenges including; the structure being made of wood, the fire taking place at nighttime and difficulty maneuvering in the relatively narrow street. “We also experienced pump failure. The pump on the first fire fighting vehicle shut down as the result of overheating. Firefighters were escorted by Police to and from the airport to transport the crash tender “. The fire was controlled and the operations of the Fire Department ceased around 1.30 AM Wednesday morning. They returned to the scene later Wednesday morning for routine inspection.
The Ambulance Services also arrived on the scene shortly after being notified there was a fire. The supervisor on call, Lisette Peterson, reported that as a preventative measure the occupants of the home were taken to the A. M. Medical Center for a thorough check up. Both patients were stable and no life threatening conditions were found. They were kept in the hospital for overnight observation.
Police was also on the scene. They were tasked with closing off the streets from the public. Their main responsibility was to ensure the area remained easily accessible for members of emergency management services. A large crowd was nearby observing the incident. “There were several sincere gestures to help. However, our first responsibility was to keep people at a distance and out of the way of potential danger. People were calm and cooperative. I commend the public for their good behavior and discipline”, says Charlie Smink, Chief of Basic Police Care on Saba.
Representatives of the local disaster management team met with Island Governor Jonathan Johnson around 10.00 AM on Wednesday morning to assess the situation. Meanwhile, the Executive Council of Saba has already undertaken several measures in collaboration with other local agencies to help the family affected by the fire re-establish themselves. The Own your Own Home Foundation and Public Works are working in close collaboration to carry out some minor repairs on a vacant home which will be made available to the family affected by the fire.
Joint press release RCN, January 8, 2013