ST JOHN’S — A sudden fire that gutted one vehicle and severely damaged another on High Street forced Carnival’s vibrant opening parade to be diverted to ensure revellers’ safety.
The blaze, which started at around 5 p.m. on Saturday, completely destroyed a Ford Expedition before setting a nearby Toyota Corolla alight. The route was subsequently diverted onto St Mary’s Street.
The SUV was apparently one of the vehicles serving the Beautiful People mas’ troupe.
Police said, according to the driver, the vehicle “shut off” while in use and bystanders reported seeing fire in front of it.
The driver and his two children escaped without injury, as the vehicle went up in flames.
Loud explosions could be heard in the distance as a dark cloud of smoke filled the skies, causing panic among the throngs of people, including numerous children, who had headed into St John’s to witness the festivities. Police rushed to maintain order and protect the public from danger.
Police are investigating the matter.
While the Carnival opening was eventful, the blaze did not stop mas’ players who continued on their merry way into Antigua Recreation Grounds, where the opening ceremony was held and the grounds transformed into Carnival City. (Antigua Observer)