Sports Day for The Alleyne School at the National Stadium came to halt today as fire broke out in the centre stand, just days after its nearly 50-year-old roof was removed.
But students, parents and staff were not in the stands when the fire occurred but immediately sprung to action and orderly evacuated the vicinity.
The 200 metre race was about to begin when around 12:45 p.m. the roof of the Systems Control Room in the Louis Lynch (VIP) Stand caught fire. Two fire tenders and seven officers from the Fire Service Headquarters in Bridgetown responded to the blaze.
As track and field activites resumed at 1.13 p.m., firefighters put out the fire an hour later.
Station officer Wayne Vaughan told Barbados TODAY that he suspected the fire was linked to the removal of the stadium’s roofs.
Vaughan said: “Personnel from Structural Systems were carrying out repairs on the roof and they went to lunch and when they left there wasn’t anything but I believed what could have happened is that the metal could have been heated up to the point where it contributed to the combustion of material that held up the ceiling.”
Acting director of the National Sports Council Neil Murrell and NSC board members were present to assess the scene.
While he could not identify how the burnt room would affect future sports meets at the facility, Murrell revealed that the Systems Control Room was undergoing the final phase of renovations when the incident occurred.
“This was the final phase of taking off the roof of the stadium,” he told Barbados TODAY. “All five roofs of the stands were taken off and the last part was the systems and communication room. This was ongoing and something may have occurred which would have caused or impacted on the fire.”
Principal of the Alleyne School Julia Beckles praised firefighters, the sports council and the police for their quick response.
“Within a very quick response we had the fire service and the Barbados police force and I must say that the patrons and the students cooperated. The evacuation was done very quickly. We had a short pause as we waited from them to hear when we could resume because safety would have been paramount,” she said.