Families left homeless after shanty town blaze

Photos: Moise Amisial

Photos: Moise Amisial



FAMILIES were left homeless Sunday after a massive fire ripped through homes and vehicles in a shantytown in the Carmichael area.

Shortly after 10am, firefighters were notified of a fire at Pink Meadow Road off Belot Road in the Carmichael area. On arrival, firefighters met a shantytown consisting of wooden single-story structures totally engulfed in flames.

Firefighters responded with three fire trucks that were reportedly filled to capacity with water and were able to bring the blaze under control within a relatively short period of time.

On the scene of Sunday's incident, where explosions could still be heard and over 50 persons were gathered out crying for the loss of their homes, Police Chief Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings reported that more than 20 homes had been lost in the fire.

“There were roughly over 20 homes in this particular area and an estimated 50 people have since been displaced,” CSP Skippings said.

“We don’t have any death or any injuries reported at this particular time. The fire has been contained everyone thus far is safe. The fire marshalls will remain on the scene until the blaze is completley brought to an end,” she said.

“We have reached out to (The Department of) Social Services and so we’re presently awaiting their arrival so that they can assist the displaced persons in resuming normalcy in their lives at this particular time,” CSP Skippings said.

CSP Skippings added: “At this time, of course (The Department of) Immigration maintains records and files, so once persons would’ve had their papers, they can go back to immigration, those papers will be filed and they will be able to provide them with a copy of their documentation.


Chief Superintendent Chrislyn Skippings at the scene.

“We’re not focusing on documents right now, we’re focusing on saving their lives. They are also human beings. Despite what might be going on in Haiti at this time, as a country we have an obligation to ensure that their basic welfare needs are met. That is what we’re doing at this particular time,” CSP Skippings said.

One of the community’s displaced residents, 66-year-old Rosny Fertil who had been living in the community for over 30 years with his wife, said despite Sunday's fire, he and his wife have spent the better part of their lives in The Bahamas and will get back on their feet again.

“I live in this yard for 36 years. I have been living in the yard with my wife since 1998. This day, this problem come into our (community). I am a man who tries to help people. But when I was at work, my wife called me and said, ‘Fire catching in the yard,’” Mr Fertil explained.

“I just fixed my house with 40 sheets of plywood and now no house. And all my jeep and where I go to sleep (is gone),” he said.

“But guess what, God protects me and even as a foreigner, I love The Bahamas. There’s better living in The Bahamas. That’s where I put all my blood and all my couple of dollars. I have to excel for my children. I have twins, it feels like they were just born and I look at them now and they’re 18. They’re going to be finished school in June,” Mr Fertil said.

“So, now what do I have, where do I stand? I (am) living just like (a) dog. A dog lives everywhere, so that’s just what I’m going to do,” he said.

Mr Fertil added he was not able to save any of his or his family’s belongings.

“Documents, bed, clothes, I didn’t get to save anything. My children can’t go to school. We were supposed to go to church, but now the fire broke out, we can’t go,” he said.

Both fire investigators and crime scene investigators have commenced work into this latest incident to see exactly how this fire started.

The fire came days after government filed a court summons seeking permission to demolish the expansion of a shantytown in Abaco as well as at two other locations in New Providence.

Such fires are not unusual as there have been several blazes in shantytown communities over the years.

On December 26, 2020, ten people were left displaced after a fire destroyed five homes in a shantytown community off Cowpen Road.

On November 14, 2021, six families lost their homes after a fire broke out in a shantytown community off Joe Farrington Road.

No one was reported to be injured for either incident.

Recently, there have been renewed calls for the government to address the issue of shantytowns, with many citing environmental hazards and safety concerns due the illegal building practices.


TalRussell 8 months ago

Nothing else really embodies the PLP and Red Parties governances' failures as well as the on arrival, firefighters Police Chief Superintendent Comrade "Sister" Chrislyn Skippings, being met in ---- da yard ---- with the the surprise that so many residents  ---- have been living onsite for some 35 years in the fire raging Shantytown's illegal structures' at the Carmichael area's Shantytown.    

Guess what Comrade "Sister" Chrislyn Skippings ---- Nassau Town, alone, ---- has another 18 Shantytowns with ----- hundreds++ more living in illegal structures' ---- spread throughout the Colony's Out Islands capital of Nassau.

The Police Chief Superintendent-and her Firefighters,' Well, Yes. ----Frankly speaking, they all need to get out more to be driving about Nassau Town become even more surprised.

Even the former premier Papa Hubert would do his regular Sunday drive about Nassau Town in his Volkswagen to check out things for emself, ---- Yes?


GodSpeed 8 months ago

The shantytown shouldn't even exist to burn down in the first place.


SP 8 months ago

I have absolutely NOT AN ONCE OF SYMPATHY for those affected as they should not have been there in the first place!

They have reached out to (The Department of) Social Services? Well Social Services better not touch 1 penny of MY TAX DOLLARS to help any illegals! I see dozens of Bahamians pan handling begging for help all over the place. Even Obie Whilchcomb is shocked at the number of Bahamians in need of assistance.

Immigration needs to do their job and use this opportunity to repatriate any illegals found in the area!

Mr/s. Fertil and their twins need to pack up and go back to Haiti and be very thankful for the 18 year free ride off the backs of suffering Bahamians who they deprived of jobs, education, health care and Social Services!

Enough is enough and we had too much!


TalRussell 8 months ago

Illegal Shantytowns and Immigration are totally substantive and separate issues.

Both matters are substantive in scope ---- Thus fall under the jurisdictions of four+ ---- Or more ---- Separate and different crown ministries and departments of the government, ---- Yes?


ThisIsOurs 8 months ago

I sometimes think about how black people were and are today treated in the deep south. It was just 2019 when James Bird was tied to, dragged behind a truck and killed. Its almost unbelievable that that happened 4 years ago. It's a little removed from a shooting, that person dies instantly. This man had to have been screaming for miles. And you have to wonder what kind of hatred would make one human being do that to another human being... for just breathing. No we dont want illegal immigration we dont want shantytowns but we also dont want to forget they're human beings. They're us. Stay away from dehumanization its the feeding ground of atrocities


TalRussell 8 months ago

@ComradeThisIsOurs, think 'twas 25 years ago in the east Texas town of Jasper, ---- 49-year-old James Byrd Jr. was walking home late on a Saturday night when The African American man --- who was no stranger and well-known and well-liked in the town of Jasper,. ----- And when the driver Shawn Berry, offered to give Byrd a ride, Byrd hopped in — after all, he'd known the driver most of his life, --- Yes?


ThisIsOurs 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Youre right! and I was wrong. Thanks for the correction... the other stuff, as is.


M0J0 7 months, 4 weeks ago

It sickens me to hear the coalition followers speak. No common sense just a bunch of fools. The world is round, and the world is a cycle, be careful how you treat others because if karma don't catch you, it will catch your future generations.


M0J0 7 months, 4 weeks ago

simply need to fix the system so it cannot continue to happen.


ted4bz 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The only difference about this fire for these people is their spending’s might integrate directly (somewhat more or less) into the economy. Their B$ will change hands, it will go from shanty town landlords shacks packed like sardines in a can into the hands of landlords with houses and apartments in residential areas. Nothing else will change, they might reside in your neighborhood and continue to be packed like sardines in a can, except they will be near you. That’s it, nothing others might come out of this.


jus2cents 7 months, 4 weeks ago

There for the grace of GOD!

I am horrified by the average Bahamians response to the plight of Haiti & of Haitians.

Seriously, one Dorian on New Providence and we would all become climate refugees. That is an undisputable fact. And just one term of an inept & corrupt government could make our economy crash and we could all be living life just like Haiti. Bahamians are always saying we are friendly people, who live in a Christian nation, God fearing, Good people, with more churches and preachers than there are weeks in a year. Yet he we are, spouting unkind, xenophobic vitriol.

We hire Haitians to do all the jobs we don't like, working class Bahamians think its normal to have maids and gardeners for example.
Whilst Haitians struggle to exist, they cant get legal work permits in a timely manner and without having to 'Tip'. Our own bureaucracy and corruption in government sectors has contributed to the plight of our neigbiours and relatives in Haiti. (As many Bahamians are related to Haitians and don't even know it!) If they could work and travel without fear there would be more money going back there and so Haiti would be better off financially. You Reap What You Sow.


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