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20 Vehicles Destroyed As Fire Hits Tour Bus Business

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

A FIRE at the Priscilla Forbes Building in Grand Bahama destroyed at least 20 vehicles, including three mass transit buses at the tour establishment on Queen's Highway on Sunday evening.

The fire occurred sometime around 7.45pm at the rear of the building where an auto-mechanic garage and repair shop is located.

Officers at the Fire Division of the Royal Bahamas Police Force immediately responded where they met several vehicles ablaze. The Bahamas Buckeye Hub's (BBH) emergency response team also responded to a call for assistance. However, the team was unable to assist due to the absence of hydrants in the immediate vicinity, according to a company official.

The cause of the fire is not known and investigations are underway.

Grand Bahama Fire Chief Ernest Hanna reported the Fire Department received a call that a double-decker bus was ablaze and dispatched fire units to the area.

Despite breezy conditions and the lack of nearby water hydrants in the immediate vicinity, flames were contained reasonably quickly preventing the fire from spreading to the building or a nearby business.

When The Tribune arrived around 8.30pm, many of the mass transit vehicles owned by Freeport tour operator Hadley Forbes had been removed from the property and parked along the roadside.

Bystanders, including some employees, watched as firemen worked to extinguish the flames. Mr Hanna and Chief Superintendent Loretta Mackey were at the scene.

"Fortunately, we were able to get the fire under control, but about 20 vehicles were destroyed. There was some minor damage to the building, and we are still looking into the cause of the fire," Officer Hanna said.

The fire chief reported they encountered some challenges while battling the blaze.

"Vehicles were parked in close proximity of each other and that caused a problem for us. The winds were also an issue, but we were able to get this fire under control and stopped the forward movement of the flames a half hour after arriving. We had some challenge with water as there was no reliable water supply in close proximity to this facility and we had to truck water in."

Although a full inspection of the building was not conducted on Sunday evening, the fire chief believes there was no breach of the two-storey structure. "There was superficial damage to the building; there was no structural damage, and the fire did not get to the interior of the building from what I could see," he said.

The lack of adequate water hydrants in Freeport, particularly in the commercial-industrial area, has been an ongoing concern for some time.

Tyrone Thomas, safety programme specialist at Bahamas Buckeye Hub, formerly BORCO, said their fire trucks can only pump water and so the lack of hydrants was an issue.

"They called us to assist with extinguishing the flames, but we were not able to use our trucks because they are pumpers and we need access to a water (source) at the site in order to assist," he explained.

Mr Thomas commended firemen from the RBPF.

"It is important we look at putting water hydrants throughout GB. Here it is we have Freeport Gases establishment right here next door, and there is no hydrants in this area, and so firemen had to leave to refill their trucks with water, " he said.

Comments

sealice 3 years, 10 months ago

Let the insurance pay for the buses then please change the law so those giant ars buses can't be imported anymore they are way WAY too big for our roads and the drivers are as bad as the cabs and Jitneys..... waiting for the accident to happen Dan Knowles your drivers in particular suk...

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