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Firebug in city

Firebug in city

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At press time, the police were still investigating the cause of the fire which destroyed the dwelling houses of Lance Trotman and Venice Richards, and caused extensive damage to a building owned by Oxley Lockhart. Lockhart’s building, located in the Bentick Square residential area, housed eight tenants.{{more}}

The fire, which blazed for approximately three hours, was in close proximity to the administrative building of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and caused the hospital to evacuate patients and staff from a number of wards.

Just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, November 23, news circulated that a house was on fire in the area popularly known as Hospital Road, on the Leeward Highway.

When members of the Fire Department of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force arrived on the scene, most of the wooden structure occupied by Richards was already destroyed.

The fire spread from the wooden structure to the Trotman’s residence and the Lockhart building, which stood on either side of it.

While the fire department, with the assistance of members of the Special Services Unit, Rapid Response Unit, Criminal Investigations Department, other rank and file members of the constabulary and civilians, struggled to contain the fire, their efforts were hampered by several inconveniences, which restricted their fire fighting capabilities.

The absence of water in a number of the fire tenders along with low water pressure in a nearby hydrant at one stage limited those trying to put out the inferno to using buckets and a garden hose.

By the time things appeared to be under control, the wooden houses were already destroyed. The wall structure was also damaged. However, through the determination of the fire fighters the blaze was contained sometime around 11 a.m.

Tenants and friends were able to salvage some household items, which were not damaged or destroyed by the fire or water from the apartment.

The smoke from the ensuing blaze prompted officials of the MCMH to activate its evacuation plan, which saw patients of the Female Surgical Ward, Accident and Emergency Unit, and a number of departments closest to the fire relocated to the Victoria Park.

This was undertaken by the staff of the hospital and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

Chief Medical Officer at the MCMH Dr. St. Clair Thomas, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, indicated that the movement of the patients from the various wards was a smooth and carefully organized process. He credited the institution’s emergency response plan for the flawless transition.

The patients were returned to the hospital when the all clear to do so was given by fire officials.

This is not the first time that patients were evacuated from the hospital.

In 2008, following a bogus bomb threat, the entire hospital was cleared of patients and staff.

In September of this year, the fire bug hit at the other end of the city, when major damage was done to Fred J. Dare boutique on Upper Middle Street.

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