Police are investigating the cause of an early morning fire, at the old Ministry of Health building, that has left the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) counting its losses.
Lawmen say the blaze occurred around 5:30 a.m. in the section of the Jemmotts Lane, St Michael building which housed the BFPA and the Vector Environmental Unit.
BFPA’s Executive Director Anderson Langdon told reporters a damage assessment was currently being done.
“But [from] what I can see our youth department is completely gone. The place our adolescent young mothers programme [was held] is damaged significantly. Our youth department . . . where our youth advocacy movement group interacts . . . where we encourage young people from the public to come and find a comfortable space, that’s [also] gone. For us that is a significant part of our programming. It’s one of the most important things we do to prepare our young people . . . . It is something that we pride ourselves in.
“What has happened [to] that structure has compromised it more. We have been here since 1966 . . . and the deterioration . . . [was] a constant concern [and] that’s just a set back for the organization,” Langdon explained.
Twelve fire officers, along with three tenders and a water tank, responded to the blaze, which forced nearby residents to evacuate.
“We were trying to avoid residents in the area inhaling any fumes from the asbestos. Once the smoke has subsided they can return to their homes and do a general cleaning and they should be good,” Chief Fire Officer Errol Maynard, who led the team, said.
Police have cordoned off the area as investigations continue into the cause of the fire.
They are also asking anyone with information on this morning’s blaze to call Central Police Station at 430-7676, the police operations control room at 430-7100 or the nearest police station.