Casuarina Point and surrounding areas recently experienced severe prolonged forest fires. For three or four days the flames blazed relentlessly and for several more days the area was still smoking with patches of fire. It is believed that the fire broke out at the site of the old dump located on the side road between Casuarina Point and Big Mangrove Road.
Due to the extreme drought at the time in the South, the fire quickly got out of control devouring its way through the dry brush.
Volunteer firemen from Casuarina Point and Bahama Palmed Shores worked for days to the point of exhaustion battling the blaze. Their main concern is always to protect the homes in the area and, as always, did a good job of keeping the fire away from the houses and also away from the derelict premises of Nettie’s ‘ Different of Abaco’.
Had those old wooden buildings caught it could have been a real catastrophe. Two of the Bahamas Electricity poles burnt, cutting off power but as always the valiant workers of Bahamas Electricity Corporation did an excellent job of replacing poles and restoring power.
An incident which greatly hindered the firefighters was the fact that when power was cut off to the water and sewage substation, the water supply for the fire trucks was no longer available. It is understood that the generator which is supposed to take over in such situations ran out of diesel and so instead of the trucks being able to fill up in Casuarina Point near the site of the fire they had to keep returning to Bahama Palm Shores to refill the water tanks.
“The weight of 2600 gallons of water reduces the speed with which the trucks can travel and so this was a frustrating and time consuming task,” stated Judy Albury wife of Rex Albury one of the firefighters from Casuarina Point.
The fire travelled several miles north down the main road and also through the back putting the Neem Farm in danger. Nick Maioulis, owner/manager of the Neem Farm, states that he constantly keeps a firebreak cut around his property but that wind can bypass these firebreaks. At one point the fire was roaring around the Neem Farm on three sides which certainly caused panic to Mr. Maioulis and his wife, Daphne, since the fire threatened their trees, their beehives and other wildlife.
They hastily mowed any grass which was in the fire’s path to try and stop the spread and relocated their bees to a safer location. Fortunately, says Mrs. Maioulis all their bees have survived and are now happily buzzing around the Neem trees. They appeal to the public to be more attentive to how, when and where fires are lit and always to extinguish fires to prevent catastrophes.
The fire also travelled south to Bahama Palm Shores but the firemen were successful in restricting it to the perimeter.
On behalf of the residents of Casuarina Point, Bahama Palm Shores and owners of the Neem Farm, this reporter and my husband, John Hudson, Local Government Representative for Casuarina Point, would like to say a very, very big “Thank You” to all of the wonderful firefighters that worked so hard to avert what could have been a catastrophe.
These firefighters are all volunteers who generously donate their time to keeping us and our homes safe whilst putting themselves in danger. While some of these persons are retired, those who still have daily jobs often leave their jobs, possibly at their own expense.
One new second homeowner who has recently bought a home in Casuarina Point was returning from Marsh Harbour during one of these days at the height of the fires when he was suddenly confronted by clouds of dark red smoke and fire burning on both sides of the road. Coming from New Jersey, Carl Dashman had never seen anything like this before and was unsure of what to do and very wary of driving through it so called Rex Albury who went and picked him up in the fire truck. Rex then gave Mr. Dashman a hose and he spent the next several hours helping to fight the fire.
At the end of this time Mr. Albury presented him with a complete firemen’s outfit so we now have a new volunteer firefighter. Not only that but the generous Mr. Dashman has donated a pump, now on order from the United States, which will enable the firefighters to pump from wells in the event that water is unavailable from the water plant. This will be a great blessing to the firefighters and would mean the chances of saving a home are much greater than if a truck had to take an hour to fill elsewhere. Thank-yous go to Mr. Dashman for his contribution to the people of South Abaco.