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Fire Destroys Home

On Tuesday, January 2, a fire in the Sanpedrito Area destroyed an entire building which belonged to Eliseo Rivero, owner of the Thunderbolt Water Taxi.

The Fire Department responded to a call from the Police Department around 4:30 p.m. concerning a blaze in the Sanpedrito Area. The Fire Department immediately dispatched its first response truck to the scene of the fire, but by the time they arrived a quarter of the house was on fire. Despite their attempts on outing the fire the water supply just wasn’t enough.

The fireman then attempted to retrieve water from the lagoon but unfortunately the fire truck got stuck in the soft ground and was unable to assist on outing the fire. The Police then rendered aid to the single fireman at the scene by taking him back to the fire station and getting the other fire truck. But by the time they returned the entire house was engulfed by smoke and flames.

To make the situation worst, the second fire truck was also unable to get access to the lagoon in order to pump water. That’s when the rest of the firemen arrived with a portable pump and were able to pump water from the lagoon but the water which was being retrieved was contaminated with sea grass and caused the hoses to clog up. After finally managing to get some water and the firemen sprayed the neighboring house which was just a few feet away and could have caught on fire very easily. The fire was completely extinguished by 6:30 p.m.

The house belonging to Mr. Rivero was insured for a sum of $125,000. The household items inside which included two beds, a stove, refrigerator and a TV set were not insured.

In an interview with the Fire Chief, Jerome Garcia, he mentioned to us that people tend to speak badly about them and blame them for not doing a good job.

“People wrongly accuse us without knowing what we have to go through; we only have three staff members who work an 8-hour shift daily,” stated Mr. Garcia. “We have to be the Fire Chief, driver, hose man and investigator all at the same time and with people telling us things we get frustrated and at times get disappointed.”

Mr. Garcia suggested that the island is in much need of fire hydrants and open sources designated for the fire department in order for them to have easier water access and to help prevent such disasters.

Investigations on how the fire started are still pending but Mr. Garcia suspects that it was due to an electrical problem.

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