Ground Zero is the term used to describe some of the most devastating experiences to hit any country. Whether its terrorism or a hurricane like Hattie, the impact on the ground is usually the worst. However, San Pedro experienced a towering inferno that flattened several buildings and left over 80 persons homeless. The financial impact has not been calculated and it is sure to have a negative effect on dreams to be deferred for some years to come. Sitnah Blease reports from ground zero in the Boca del Rio area of San Pedro Town.
Sitnah Blease: Occurring a mere two months after the fatal fire that took the life of four persons on June 12th. The town San Pedro experienced another tragic inferno in the Boca del Rio this weekend. Early Saturday morning residence of the island were distraught as they witnessed the severity of the fire storm leaving in its wake it’s sweltering heat and air filled with fiery ash and harmful smoke. As the fire crackled on it consumed and destroyed 10 homes to mere runes and left 87 individuals homeless. Lous Caliz a resident living in the area told love news that he was alerted to the fire by the neighbor.
Louis Caliz neighbor: I saw when the neighbor alerted me about the fire; I ran downstairs and came this way. Right here on this side you can see it was open door with an empty room and it was flames coming out of the window and through the door so what I did was run upstairs in my house and alert my family and took everybody out and then I alerted all the neighbors on this side here and the renters that we have down here so everybody ran out and what I did was just walk off at the dock.
Sitnah Blease: Fire Chief Ted Smith was on the island hours after the blaze.
Fire Chief Ted: According to the personnel that arrived two structure were engulfed in flames. One was totally engulfed in flames and the other structure was located east. The western portion of the wall was engulfed in flames. The structure that was located West of the structure was on fire. Smoke was seen coming out from the upstairs but no visible flames were seen. One unit arrived on the ground with a portable pump on board. The unit went into operation first exhausting its water from its tank and then the pumps were put into action and went into operation.
Sitnah Blease: Jorge Aldana a resident of the island believes the extent of the fires damages could have been minimized.
Jorge Aldana: Contrary to what the fire chief is saying there was only one structure on fire.This structure in-front of us; about five minutes after they came on scene that structure got engulfed in flames and it took them 32 minutes to figure out how to work their machine in terms of their pump. They could have saved the structure that my sister and my brother in law lives in and the fire could not have been to that magnitude.
Sitnah Blease: Fire chief Ted Smith admitted that things did not go according to plan when they arrived on the scene.
Fire Chief Ted: The truck that arrived here arrived with 300 gallon of water. It take 30 gallons to fill each hose. Their were three hoses used so 1/3 of the water was exhausted just to full the hoses. They went into operation; there were three men on duty that responded. Two went in to operation attacking the fire; the third tried to set up the portable pump. After the portable pump was set put in place and went into operation. It did have some challenges because the officer in charge at the time used his wisdom and put a civilian to man the portable pump while three of them went into operation to put out the fire. Somehow the throat was pulled for the portable pump and the portable pump eventually shutdown and it takes a while before the officer recognize that it was the choke that somebody engage. You can’t engage the choke for a portable pump after you start because it will shut it down and if you do not know what is happening then it will take you a while to figure out what cause it to shutdown before you could get it to start.
Sitnah Blease: San Pedro’s Mayor Daniel Guerrero said following the fatal fire in June the town council was looking at ways to assist the Fire department. Reporting for Love News I am Sitnah Blease.
Residents of San Pedro (VO STARTS) have been quick to reach out to the homeless families. Various organizations have reached out and a radio and telethon has been planned to raise funds for the victims.