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Homes Destroyed In Shanty Town Fire

The scene of devastation at Sand Banks, Abaco.

The scene of devastation at Sand Banks, Abaco.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS jumped from burning homes into a nearby creek to escape the flames that devastated an Abaco shanty town early yesterday morning. More than 70 homes were wiped out in the blaze that consumed the Sand Banks area, although no one is thought to have been injured in the fire, which police believe was arson.

A 23-year-old man of the Sand Bank community is currently assisting police with their investigations and Police Superintendent Noel Curry says authorities believe the fire started in one of the homes in the area.

Authorities, who found numerous wooden structures on fire when they responded to a call around 1am yesterday, brought the fire under control around 3:15am.  

The firefighting team from Treasure Cay responded quickly and were joined about an hour later by officials from Marsh Harbour.

Nonetheless, an Abaco resident said the team of 12 firefighters were hindered in their efforts to control the fire because they had to travel several miles to refill with water.

The resident said the fire was almost contained at one point – until the crew had to make a 6.5-mile round trip to load up with extra water.

The Sand Banks shanty town is near Treasure Cay and its homes had stretched up to the side of a creek at the back of the complex. As the blaze swept through the area residents said they had to jump for their lives into the creek to get away.

Around 50 people later reported that they lost their homes – although the number of structures destroyed was closer to 80, The Tribune understands. It is believed that a number of people living there have not come forward because of concerns about the legality of their immigration status.

Yesterday’s blaze comes over four months after a mother and her year-old son were killed in a similar shanty town fire in the Pigeon Pea area in Marsh Harbour. More than 80 homes were burned to the ground on that occasion, leaving more than 500 members of the Haitian community homeless.

After that December 31 fire Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis told Abaco residents the government would do all that it could to ensure a situation like that did not happen again, adding that members of such communities must make certain their homes are up to standard.

The Ministry of Social Services is providing assistance to people who have been displaced by yesterday’s fire and an appeal has been launched for funds to help those families who have been affected.

The fundraising is being carried out through the Crowdrise website. A statement on the site said: “A house fire in the shanty town of Sandbanks, Abaco, Bahamas spread throughout the village and destroyed approximately 100 homes overnight. This has left 100 families without food, water or shelter on the island of Abaco. The men, women and children of Sandbanks were living in poverty prior to the fire and they need your help to overcome this tragedy. “Please join us in helping the displaced families of Sandbanks by showing them the love of Jesus Christ in giving whatever you can towards this cause.”

To donate, visit www.crowdrise.com/re-homethepeopleofsandbanksabaco.

Comments

afficianado 5 years ago

"It is believed that a number of people living there have not come forward because of concerns about the legality of their immigration status". Why am I goin to donate to support illegals? Also, if a similar incident occured in the pigeon pea area why wouldn't they be concerned that it may happen to them? sigh!! As a chinese proverb says, "Ignorance won't kill you but it will make you sweat alot." The ministry of social services and the shantytown residents are sweating!!

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B_I_D___ 5 years ago

As per usual, things will only change when there is massive loss of life. My heart goes out to them on one hand, but on the other, the ones that are here illegally...SHOULDN'T BE HERE.

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sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Abaco is a festering sore ready to burst when it comes to Haitians................. when will any central government deal with this issue??????????

The Mudddddd.......... Pigeon Pea................... now Sandbanks???????????

Will the real Bahamians (black or white) in Abaco stand up and say something?????????

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BahamianAway 5 years ago

FLIPPIN EXCELLENT!!!! Burn down all these illegal shanty villages...if I had the opportunity I'd set them all ablaze and see each illegal immigrant deported. Building these shanty towns and all they becomes is a cesspool of disease and slovenly living, not to mention an eyesore.

BURN THEM ALL DOWN!!!!!

I feel no pity...they live in these clapboard shacks, no running water, no electricity...it's unsafe and unsanitary. Ten people to a one room shack...they trying to make the Bahamas like Haiti. A bunch of clapboard shacks stacked upon each other, sharing filth and disease.

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Brenard 5 years ago

This is indeed tragic, however I do not fathom why something illegal as such is receiving so much sympathy. Fundraisers? It just goes to show how pathetic and two faced the situation is on part of both the governments and citizens alike. It's the "type" of criminal and "injustice" that seems to be accepted.

I am not a prejudice person, I think both Bahamians and Haitians are equal as human beings. BUT, THE ?!law!? IS NEEDED TO ENFORCED BY AN IRON FIST OF THORNS.

When we have uncontrollable & difficult health outbreaks, then what would be the case? The other "type" of criminal also watches these kind of circumstances and the response that is given by authority. Where then do you think some of them get their steam/push from?

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asiseeit 5 years ago

These shanty towns are illegal, nuff said, there is no law in this land! Politrickans won't do a dam thing because of one thing, VOTES! VOTES IS ALL THE POLITRICKAN CARES ABOUT!

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sheeprunner12 5 years ago

Everytime one of these shanty towns burn down, you hear the same rhetoric............. just listen to the vomit coming from Social Services and BJ Nottage........ and you expect anything different ??????????? More of the same.....................

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