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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Fire Department had its hands full on Tuesday morning having to simultaneously deal with two fires in Cole Bay.
The Fire Department responded with four fire trucks and two water trucks to a fire in a warehouse complex in Cole Bay. The trucks arrived on the scene around 10.30am shortly after receiving the fire alarm.
The fire sent billowing black smoke into the air. The cause of the fire after an investigation is a result of welding that was taking place on the roof of the building. The warehouse belonged to a business and the building contained non-alcoholic beverages, lard (cooking oil), paper and Styrofoam containers.
Residents and businesses in the surrounding area were alerted by the Police to close windows and doors. Within an hour the fire was brought under control and contained to the immediate warehouse where it started.
A lot of water was required to bring the fire under control. Fire personnel used fire hydrants in the immediate area as well as two water trucks that it received from The Netherlands after the passing of Hurricane Irma and now forms part of the department’s firefighting assets.
On Tuesday afternoon fire crews remained at the scene to extinguish hot spots within the warehouse. The department was assisted by the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Management (Ministry VROMI) with heavy equipment, which was used to clear burnt debris within the warehouse in order to reach hotspots.
Fire fighters were not able to enter the warehouse because one of the floors within the structure had partially collapsed, and due to the heat, cracks started to form in the outer walls with the high risk of a possible collapse.
The Fire Department while battling this blaze received another call on Tuesday morning for an electrical fire at Paradise Mall in Cole Bay. A fire truck and crew responded from the Cay Hill Fire Station and this fire was promptly extinguished.
Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin and Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever visited the scene of the fire in Cole Bay Tuesday night to get a first-hand view of the situation.
At the same time, the aforementioned would like to thank the Chief of the Fire Department and the staff of the Fire Department (men and women) for their successful actions in keeping the fire under control and preventing it from spreading to other nearby businesses.
The safety of the fire officers was of concern to the Prime Minister as she was informed that a floor in the building had collapsed. “Material items and structures can be replaced but possible loss of life is something that must be prevented at all costs, safety comes first,” said Prime Minister Romeo Marlin on Tuesday.
Fire Chief Clive Richardson would like to thank the fire crews, Police and Ministry VROMI for the assistance that they rendered which resulted in preventing any loss of life and keeping the fires contained thereby limiting any damage to other nearby businesses.