Fire causes closure of two agencies
At least two agencies will remain closed tomorrow after yesterday’s early morning four-hour blaze at the old Ministry of Health buildings on Jemmotts Lane, St Michael.
The fire sent residents of nearby communities scampering, affected the Vector Environmental Section and brought operations at the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) to a halt.
It appeared to have started at one of the unoccupied buildings and was reported to the Barbados Fire Service at 5:30 a.m.
The upper floor of the BFPA was destroyed and that agency will remain closed while the ministry’s Rodent Bait Distribution Centre will also be closed, with officials advising members of the public to collect the bait from any polyclinic except the Edgar Cochrane, Wildey and the Glebe, St George.
A few residents who did not want to be named said they were awoken by the sounds of sirens and they quickly picked up the scent of burning wood.
Smithy of Smith’s Corner Bar, which is located south of the compound, was on the beach when he noticed the smoke. He immediately rushed home to see if his property was affected.
Though it wasn’t affected, the asthmatic said he and the eight other tenants of the two-storeyed building left due to the thick smoke.
The intense flames burned for hours and engulfed a number of buildings, including the section used to store files, furniture and chemicals of the Vector Environmental Section, while the upper section of the BFPA used as an exercise area was destroyed and the ground floor used to store computers suffered water damage only.
Those who showed up at the clinic yesterday had to be turned away.
Minister of Health John Boyce who was briefed on the incident later said the necessary chemicals were taken away from the area.
The BFPA acting executive director Anderson Langdon and chief financial officer Sonya Alleyne were both at the scene assessing the damages.
Alleyne estimated that about 35 people from their Youth Advocacy Movement (YAM) which handles the Adolescent Young Mother’s Programme would be affected along with the Community Sexuality Education and other youth outreach activities.
Langdon said the BFPA had been the home of the institution since 1966, and even though it was an old building, they had now being set back, as he made an appeal for help.
Divisional officer Mervin Mayers said the residents who lived on Jemmotts Lane including residents of London Bourne Towers and Nelson Street were asked to move due to the asbestos roofing.
Four fire tenders and one tanker, and 14 officers from Worthing Fire Station and Bridgetown responded and their investigations are ongoing. (TG)