IF ONLY: Homeless residents complain of inoperable fire trucks after Bimini blaze

IF ONLY: Homeless residents complain of inoperable fire trucks after Bimini blaze
An undated stock photo of a fire. (FILE)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Following a massive fire in Bimini on Sunday that left eleven families homeless, residents appealed to government to station a fire truck on the island to prevent future loss.

Hugh Smith, who joined other residents in outing Sunday’s fire to officials who traveled to the island—including Prime Minister Philip Davis and area MP Obie Wilchcombe—claimed that had a truck been on island for use, the damage would have been minimal.

“We really need a fire engine truck. We had buckets, hoses, whatever we had to out this fire and it really was a big risk,” he said. “Every time I belch I bring up smoke, some of us even had our eyebrows burn off and got burned trying to out this fire… If we had a fire truck we only would have lost one house but we lost so much because we didn’t.”

Other residents echoed Smith’s sentiments and called on the government to station a fire truck on the island.

The fire broke out on Sunday shortly after 7:30 am. Officers reported that they met a two-story stone home, along with a wooden structure and a single-story stone structure, fully engulfed in flames.

Fire Services on the island responded and with the assistance of bystanders evacuated all of the residents.

Prime Minister Davis and Social Services Minister Wilchcombe assessed the damage yesterday and pledged their commitment to helping restore for residents what was lost.

“Things can be replaced. I am here to carry the burden of grief and here to say that whatever we can do to restore your lives to normalcy, we will do it,” Davis said. “Out of tragedy comes opportunity, I am heartened by the support shown by the community and we are here to help you.”

Minister Davis also assured that government’s response to the tragedy will be expedited.

“We have moved to ensure that you have places to reside and apartments have been secured and assigned. We’ve also got some clothing and our social services team have prepared slips for you to purchase food,” Wilchcombe said.

“Tomorrow a team will come from Urban to assess damaged areas in which work can begin. I have spoken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deal with passports by Wednesday or Thursday for you to get your travel documents to ensure that you know that we are in this together.”

No injuries were reported from the fire and police investigations are ongoing.

About Genea Noel

Genea Noel is the news director and weeknight TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. She began working at Eyewitness News in 2018 as the newsroom editor and was subsequently promoted during her tenure. As a household name who graces the screens of thousands of Bahamian homes each night, Genea has racked up an impressive five Bahamas Press Club awards, including “The Cyril Stevenson Award for Outstanding Political Journalism” (2020), “Best Studio Live Producer” (2020) and “Best Newscast” (2018).