GB businessman’s 13-room residence destroyed in Sunday afternoon blaze


Tribune Freeport Reporter


FIRE destroyed a 13-room residence in the Windsor Park Subdivision in Grand Bahama on Sunday afternoon, displacing a well-known businessman and tour operator.

The blaze reportedly started around 11.30am, with a neighbour seeing flames coming from an air-conditioner unit.

No one was home at the time of the fire.

The Tribune understands that Pat Kemp, owner of Pat and Diane Snorkeling, lived at the house.

Oscar Thomas, a neighbour, said it took almost an hour for firefighters to arrive at the scene. He said by then, it was already too late.

“I went to the door and knocked to find out if they were home, but they were not there,” he said, adding that he went to another neighbour for assistance.

They connected some garden hoses and attempted to put out the fire.

“We tried to spray it with water, but the heat coming out of the box was so hot, and we could not get too close to it,” Mr Thomas said.

He noted that the water pressure was low.

He said his wife called the fire station several times but could not reach anyone.

“The fire truck never got here until 45 minutes later,” he said. “They called the fire station and could not get through or get anybody. They called 911, and they called Nassau, and they got somebody.

A crowd of onlookers was at the scene when The Tribune arrived around 2pm.

Mr Thomas complained that the late arrival of firefighters was unacceptable and that neighbours were very distraught about the situation.

“The fire was isolated to the box outside, and my neighbour and I were doing our best to prevent the flames from reaching the house, but it was so hot. If the fire truck had arrived earlier, we could have definitely saved the house,” he said.

Police Fire Chief Inspector Russell said officers received a call shortly after 11.55am and responded to the scene.

Officers entered the unit and extinguished the bedroom area but realized the

fire was in the ceiling and had spread throughout the roof’s exterior.

Inspector Russell said the metal roof posed a challenge when extinguishing flames.

“The problem for officers is getting water inside the home,” he said. “So, officers had to extinguish the fire on the inside, and after the roof caved in, we had to retreat our officers for safety precaution.”

He said officers were at the scene for over two hours battling the blaze and extinguishing hot spots.


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