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Fire fighters Face Challenges in Fighting VF Blaze

By Kingsley Emmanuel
Firefighters finally able to get the Clarke Street fire under control.

A building on Clarke Street, Vieux Fort, which houses several business establishments, was extensively damaged on Thursday by a raging fire which created challenges for local firefighters.

The fire, which caused damages mainly to the interior of the building, started sometime after 1:00 p.m. on the upper floor of a two- story building which houses a hair salon, a tattoo shop, a meat shop and a restaurant and bar.

Firefighters finally able to get the Clarke Street fire under control. [PHOTO KINGSLEY EMMANUEL]
It took some time, but firefighters in Vieux Fort were finally able to get the Clarke Street fire under control. [PHOTO KINGSLEY EMMANUEL]
The firefighters responded with two fire trucks and two ambulances. Upon arrival on the scene they quickly sprang into action, maneuvering among dangling live wires. As they gallantly fought the blaze, the live wires around them sparked dangerously, occasionally forcing some of the curious onlookers who kept encroaching towards the blaze to step back.

It was not until about 20 minutes after the firefighters started fighting the blaze, that the Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (Lucelec) contractors arrived on the scene and cut off the power to the building.

Image of Deputy Fire Chief, George Victorin.
Deputy Fire Chief, George Victorin.

The billowing smoke caused a few of the nearby business houses to cease operations prematurely.

As of yesterday, the firefighters were unable to determine the cause of the fire, however, a staff member employed with one of the business houses on the upper floor of the building speculated that it started on the upper floor when an electric fan blew up.

Commenting on the incident, Deputy Fire Chief, George Victorin, who was at the scene of the fire, said that they experienced many challenges in accessing the fire because when they arrived at the scene, the building was energized and it took some time before the Lucelec contractors arrived.

“In the meantime we had to deploy some defensive attack fire tactics because we could not have advanced the way we wanted to…” Victorin explained.

He said in addition to such a challenge, the building was locked, which caused further delays for firefighters.

During an interview on the scene of Thursday’s fire the Deputy Fire Chief expressed confidence that the fire would soon be under control.

Investigations are currently underway to determine the cause of the fire.

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