NASSAU – After a fire at Strachan’s Auto on Soldier Road in 2013, the then environment minister Kenred Dorsett suggested that the blaze highlighted the deficiencies in New Providence’s town planning and zoning guidelines. He lamented its impact on the environment and urged residents who experienced health problems to see a doctor.
Dr Kendal Major, who at the time was the MP for Garden Hills, said there had been multiple fires at the site over the years and something needed to be done.
On Sunday night, there was yet another fire at the facility.
Some residents had to be evacuated from their homes as a result, police said.
Superintendent of police Walter Evans, who heads the fire services division, said more than 200 cars were at the site and many of them were engulfed in flames.
“That area is a very residential area and you have businesses which are on the west, you have a church on the south and you have homes which are perhaps within 40 feet of where those vehicles were lit and so they are the kind of concerns that we would have,” Evans said.
Residents have continuously called on the government to remove the operation from that location.
Lamont Rolle, whose home is near the site, said something needs to be done immediately.
“I climbed up on top of the roof, wet the roof up, wet the house up, wet the trees up; I just used common sense, wet the bush up, in case the fire [ran] over,” Rolle said.
He said the only thing that saved their home was a trailer that is stationed between the house and the facility.
Rolle said his concern is that when the cars catch afire, transmission fluid, brake fluid and many other chemicals are burned and his family of four has to inhale those chemicals.
“She has asthma”, he said, pointing to his ten-year-old daughter.
“The neighbor’s daughter has asthma . . . . The fire truck takes at least half hour or an hour to come.
“They need to close that junkyard down because the last time the fire happened, you had snakes, centipedes, everything running under your door.”
He called on environment minister Romauld Ferreira and prime minister Dr Hubert Minnis to address the matter.
“I care about my family, I care about my children, I care about The Bahamas [and] that right there, they need to move that, or the prime minister could put it in his yard,” he said.
The owner of the apartment complex next door, who asked not to be named, said the situation has become increasingly dangerous for his family and the tenants living in the building.
He stated that the fire department evacuated his building and sprayed water on his roof about six times.
He noted that he also got some structural damage as a result of the fire.
“At the end of the day, you know you try to get along with your neighbor and be neighborly, but . . . if something is out of control it is out of control,” said the man, who added that he has co-existed with the scrap metal yard for over 40 years.
“Last night was quite evident of that.
“Clearly this is a situation that has escalated over the years and it’s becoming dangerous now for us who have to live here.
“The fact of the matter is, the cars have to be moved. I think that’s the bottom line.”
He said while he is not sure if this issue is on the Minnis administration’s radar, he hopes that it is something it will seek to address as soon as possible.
“I don’t know if this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and maybe this has to happen a couple more times, but I don’t know,” he said.
Director of environmental health Melanie McKenzie told The Nassau Guardian yesterday she did not yet have any information on the incident.
Evans said the cause of the latest fire had not yet been determined.
Workers at the compound appeared to be in clean up mode yesterday. An unidentified man claimed site officials were not yet prepared to give a comment. (The Nassau Guardian)