Fire destroyed a residence on the corner of Poppy’s Way and Don McKay Blvd. late in the afternoon on September 4 leaving a family of immigrants homeless.
Three fire alerts came in quick succession at about 6 pm by phone and VHF radio that was a house near the BTC office, a fire in the Mudd and a fire near the police station.
The Marsh Harbour Volunteer Fire and Rescue (MHVFR) responded and found billowing clouds of black smoke coming from the old concrete block home; the firemen found the interior totally engulfed with flames coming out the eaves on all four sides of the house.
According to eyewitness reports when the occupant discovered the fire he tried to extinguish the flames with a garden hose. Someone assisting him thought they were being helpful by smashing windows; however, this only let in more air increasing the fire’s intensity. By the time the firemen were alerted, the entire interior of the house was in flames.
All five of MHVFR’s engines responded and eighteen volunteer firemen were on the scene for about four hours with two dispatchers monitoring the activity by VHF.
Traffic was heavy as the incident happened just after closing time for many businesses, and the smoke and flames attracted a lot of attention. Being a block away from the Mudd and Pigeon Peas, the huge plume of smoke brought out hundreds of spectators.
Although the exterior of the 50-plus-year-old-house was concrete block, the interior was constructed with Abaco pine. This wood is rich in resin and feeds a very hot fire. The house was totally destroyed, but there were neither casualties nor damage to neighbouring structures.
The firemen who had been working in the heat were grateful for the donation of bottled drinking water by local businesses including Maxwell’s.
Marsh Harbour Volunteer Fire and Rescue urges anyone confronted with a structural fire to call the emergency line at 367-2000 immediately even when they attempt to control the fire themselves. The firemen would rather arrive to scene where the fire was just put out than go to one that is out of control due to late reporting.