For the second time in less than a week, fire wreaked havoc in The City, leaving 12 people homeless, including eight adults and four children.
Two fire officers who were exposed to extreme heat from the blaze suffered injuries and had to receive medical care,
one for blisters to the forehead and the other for extreme singeing, Divisional Fire Officer Errol Gaskin told reporters at the scene.
The blaze which was reported around 11:15 a.m. quickly spread, damaging five houses.
A group of young men from the community quickly sprang into action to assist the 18-man team from the Barbados Fire Service (BFS).
Marlon Richards, who spoke on behalf of the group who were on the rooftops dousing houses with water, told reporters: “The heat was hot, but we know how to handle ourselves. The fire was very uncontrollable for sure. We had to put real action into doing what we had to do…otherwise, it would have been more than five houses.
“We assist the firemen by carrying the hoses and trying to out the fire from a different angle and contain everything as neighbours. It was a team effort. We just make sure that everybody else safe and we could have out it as fast as possible. We just glad that we save a lot of people.”
Newly-elected Member of Parliament for the City of Bridgetown Corey Lane and the Democratic Labour Party candidate in the recent general election, Kemar Stuart, were both on the scene.
Lane, who expressed dismay that yet another fire tragedy had occurred in The City, said his main concern was to ensure that “when the sun goes down that these families have a roof over their heads…and we have the personal effects to ensure that they have a comfortable night”, adding that representatives from the National Housing Corporation and the Welfare Department would visit the displaced persons.
Insisting that fires were preventable, the MP said he intended to introduce programmes on fire safety and prevention in the constituency, even as he praised the community for assisting those affected.
Stuart, who described the fire as “heart-breaking”, also hailed the brave attempts of the young men and urged Barbadians to assist the affected families.
Both of the young politicians expressed concern about the relocation of the BFS headquarters from Probyn Street, Bridgetown to the Pine, St Michael, and the possible impact that could have on their response to fires in The City.
While Stuart suggested it should be examined, Lane said: “There has been some discussion about moving the Fire Service out of Bridgetown and that is something we will be looking into to make sure that we are still within international response time, but also practical response time because you have to make sure that yes, you prevent fires, but in the event of fires that we have the response time to make sure that we can save not only life but some property as well.”
BFS Divisional Officer Errol Gaskin acknowledged that while the distance between the Pine and Lightfoot Lane may have caused some anxiety, they were on the scene in a matter of minutes.
“I can assure you that once we received the call and the appliance moved, we would have done no more than four minutes from the Pine based on the distance away,” he said. [email protected]