Friday, December 31, 2010

Final Ride For Fallen Fireman

Acting Station Officer Christopher Ricardo Edwards rode on many fire trucks during his 35-year fire fighting career, only this time he did not get off to battle a raging blaze.

Yesterday, his flag draped casket on top the Bronco turntable fire truck, flanked by fire officers, rolled slowly into the St Lucy’s Parish Church, thronged by mourners who gathered to bid farewell to Edwards who died on December 15, electrocuted by a live power cable while responding to a fire in Station Hill, St Peter.

Edwards, who lived at Reservoir Road, Ashton Hall, in the same parish, was laid to rest in the churchyard of All Saints Anglican Church after being eulogised for his selfless dedication, loyalty and friendliness.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Lucene Wharton-Issac, Cabinet Ministers and other heads of departments and representatives of fire services across the region, headed the list of officials who paid their final respects.

In the eulogy, Leading Fire Officer Samuel Carrington said Edwards’ dedication exemplified the Fire Service’s motto, Excellence Through Service and as a result, he gained the admiration and respect of Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall, other officers and his subordinates with whom he came into contact on a daily basis.

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall reminisced on a friendship with Edwards which spanned more than three decades. and praised him for sharing his knowledge with other staff and his dedication to duty.

Rector of St Lucy’s Parish Church Reverend Curtis Goodridge reminded the congregation that they need not fear death as long as their spiritual lives were grounded in Jesus Christ.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Final Respects

Former Acting Station Officer Christopher "German" Edwards spent his last day at Barbados Fire Service headquarters on Probyn Street today.

And it was an emotional time for many who knew the 57-year-old fireman, who died in a freak accident on December 15 in Station Hill, St Peter.

He was electrocuted while handling a high tension wire when he and a crew responded to a call of a house fire.

Many tears were shed as fire fighters filed past the body of the veteran officer as others formed a guard of honour.

From 10 this morning until 3 p.m., hundreds of Barbadians also paid their last respects to the fire officer who will be laid to rest tomorrow at the All Saints Church, St. Peter after a service at the St. Lucy Parish Church at 3 p.m.

The Ashton Hall, St. Peter resident joined the service 35 years ago, with Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall. (DS)

Source: 2010/12/29

Many Pay Final Respects To Fallen Fireman

Scores of people passed through the Barbados Fire Service’s headquarters in Bridgetown yesterday, with the sole purpose of paying their respects to the first ever fire officer to lose his life in the line of duty on the island.

Christopher Edwards, 57, from Ashton Hall, St. Peter, died last week Wednesday when he was electrocuted after coming in contact with a live Barbados Light & Power cable. He was responding to an emergency call in Station Hill, St. Peter.

Family, friends and colleagues – all proudly wearing pins displaying an image of Christopher – were allowed to view his body, which was closely guarded by two fire officers for the duration of the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. viewing. Many persons who did not know him also expressed to this newspaper that they felt the need to take the time to pay their respects.

As mourners entered the Probyn Street building, most signed the two condolence books that were provided before greeting Edwards’ wife, Cheryl, and moving on to view the body. Mourners included Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall and Christopher’s brother, Martin Edwards.

A montage of pictures bearing the title “1953-2010 Memories Don’t Leave You” and featuring Christopher with his family and his firefighting colleagues, was on show next to the body, capturing moments throughout his life. One image showed his wedding day, another his time spent at the St. John Fire Station as well as him having fun playing his guitar.

His wife, who was positioned near the entrance, was a pillar of strength as she was often the comforter of many clearly grief-stricken friends and family members.

In speaking to the Barbados Advocate, she shared her memories on the life of her departed partner.

“He was quite a jovial man and very popular amongst his friends. He also loved a good beer and loved a good lime, spending a lot of time at the market behind this station, in Marhill Street, the City and in Speightstown close to home,” she recalled.

She added that he loved to play cricket, evidenced by his prominence as a member of the Barbados Fire Service Cricket team at the time of his death.

Cheryl also shared that he was now the fourth of seven siblings to leave this earth, leaving to mourn his brother Martin and two sisters.

Edwards, who was stationed at Probyn Street until his death, will be laid to rest today at the St. Lucy Parish Church, while the interment will take place at the All Saints Anglican Church.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Message From Fire Chief Wilfred Marshall

The Barbados Fire Service is cognisant of the energy, the excitement and the emphasis which is associated with the traditions of this Yuletide season.

It is a time when no effort is spared to convey to all relatives, neighbours and friends the spirit of love, gratitude and goodwill. The exercise of these attributes is best received when your manner is cheerful but in the delivery you must be careful.

When every scenario you imagine seems to be going according to plan, there is the tendency to become complacent and to lose focus of the basic but essential principles of safety and due care. The consequences of an error in judgment because you have pushed yourself to the limit to accomplish last-minute preparations can incur significant loss of property and sometimes life.

The Barbados Fire Service is committed to the reduction of property damage and loss. Our commitment is no less fervent when it comes to the preservation of life.

We as a society endured the horror of fatalities by fire earlier this year and more recently the fire service has been faced with the first line-of-duty death since it was established in Barbados. These circumstances are never easy but we have a duty to put the requisite systems in place to mitigate against these types of events.

As great and noble as our efforts may be, we cannot achieve this feat alone. This is why the strongest appeal is being made for all citizens to exercise vigilance, care and caution during this festive season.

String your lights but ensure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If there is any uncertainty or reservations, consult a qualified electrician. Light your candles but keep them away from flammable and combustible materials, away from curtains and away from wooden surfaces. Cook whatever meals you intend to but do not leave the open flames unattended for long periods.

Keep small children away from the kitchen and away from lighted Christmas trees. Do not overload electrical circuits and do not carry out any critical function in the kitchen or otherwise if you have been consuming alcohol excessively or have been taking medication, especially those that cause drowsiness.
So far for this month fire calls are down significantly, registering 74 calls for all categories as compared to 215 for December 2009. For the month so far private dwelling house fires stand at four as compared to seven in December 2009. For the same period, there were no commercial building fires. Grass fires, which reached 108 last December, now stand at 20.

The annual statistics however paint a slightly different picture. Fires overall in 2009 were 1 990 but to date there are 2 585. Private dwelling house fire calls increased from 86 in 2009 to 133 for the year so far. Commercial buildings increased from 19 to 28, grass fires went up from 909 to 1 329, and sugar canes from 107 to 154. These figures represent the major categories of fire but most other categories also showed increases.

Our major concern at this time is with the private dwelling house fires. There are already too many and we are asking everyone to make a very special effort to pay attention to safety in the home. Check and recheck before you leave home. Only leave required items plugged in. Check the gas bottle. Ensure that you put out all open flames which you may have lit.

Let us make this Christmas season one to be remembered not because something went wrong through carelessness, but because everything went right through carefulness. (BGIS)

Merry Christmas

We extend our very best wishes for the Holiday Season.

We wish you an abundance of friends, happiness, good health, peace and love...

Merry Christmas to you all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fire Chief Waves Red Flag

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall is urging Barbadians to exercise caution and due vigilance on fire safety, especially during this season. He stated that although the department was prepared to handle any emergency which may arise, it would be placing ads and messages in the public domain to reinforce safety measures.

"I would really like to see a significant reduction in the number of fires. I am concerned that we have gone past the amount of structural fires this year, compared to last year and this is a great worry for me, because this department spends a lot of time and energy on programmes educating the public about fire safety. That is where we put our focus, in an effort to reduce damage to property in this country," Marshall stressed.

Noting that the loss of a house significantly impacts upon a family, the fire chief intimated that once a tragedy of this magnitude occurs the entire chain is affected. "We can stop this through our fire prevention information, but the public must also be vigilant and play their part," he added.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Brief Ceremony In Memory of Fallen Firefighter

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall and several members of the Barbados Fire Service, Happy Crew community group and residents of St Peter came out this morning to the area where acting Station Officer Edwards was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday.

During the brief ceremony a wreath was laid near the spot where Edwards died. Tributes were also presented by his wife Cheryl and Fire Chief Wilfred Marshall with Reverend Curtis Goodridge a close friend of Edwards as the officiating Minister.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Senior Firefighter Killed In The Line Of Duty

The Barbados Fire Service today mourns the tragic loss of one of its members. Acting Station Officer Christopher Edwards was killed in the line of duty last night after he came into contact with a live power line after responding to an emergency call. Reports indicate that Edwards was electrocuted at the scene of the emergency call.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, relatives, friends and all members of the Barbados Fire Service during this time of profound loss.

Please note that tributes, condolences and other expressions of sympathy can be posted via our Facebook page under the topic "Fire Service Condolences" located in the discussions forum, see link below.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Associate Degree For Firemen

Barbados' chief fire officer Wilfred Marshall says his officers are moving to improve their certification locally.

Moments after receiving several pieces of equipment from the Florida-based Hillsborough Community College, the fire chief said that they were currently working with the Barbados Community College to get an associate degree programme in fire science going.

"That is being worked on as we speak. This is a collaboration between the Barbados Community College and Hillsborough Community College. There are a number of little details to be worked out," he said, adding that the parties involved met as recently as yesterday to discuss the developments.

Dean of the associate science programmes at Hillsborough, Jack Evans said that they were working on an arrangement where when trainers from that Community College provided instruction to local fire officers, the BCC would receive the grades and be able to apply them to the transcripts of those officers here towards their degrees.

Marshall added: "We are working towards ensuring that Barbadian firefighters and by extension Caribbean firefighters have a facility resource where they can upgrade their education in terms of their certification and qualification in fire science.

"The whole world is moving away from just plain paper, now you have to show that you have received the particular qualification and credits in the disciplines. We are moving forward in the Fire Service as well in that respect."

Currently, he said, a number of the officers sought their own qualifications in areas including management courses at the University of the West Indies. He said though that it was becoming increasingly popular in recent years for officers to complete their associate degrees in fire science in Kentucky, and as the administrators of the service, they were trying to ensure that there was more local training related to their profession.

"So while they are going after the general education, we as the Fire Service administration are seeking to make sure they have the opportunity to seek fire related qualifications. We look forward to the day when Barbadians can apply for work in any other Caribbean country and we have access to qualifications where we can say we have done this and done that, rather than the chief of the service saying he was part of the service and this is what he did."

He said he believed the improved qualification could certainly lift the profile of the service and the officers, as the public sometimes held the view that the service was a brawn rather than a brains required profession.

"We are now talking a lot more about fire prevention activities, we are talking about Hazmat situations which does not require brawns but requires brains and that is the type of fire officer we are also trying to attract. So when we have them in the service, that is the direction we want to go."

The Service this morning received four Hazmat training suits; three contamination showers, 45 harnesses, 27 oxygen cylinders and 17 personal alert safety devices in the donation from the Hillsborough College. (LB)


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Extension Cords & Holiday Electrical Safety tips from ESFI

Here is another informative video from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) to offer you guidance during this festive season. Remember: "Don't invite FIRE to your holiday celebrations."

Holiday Electrical Safety Reminders

The holiday season is a prime time for accidents to happen. Seasonal food preparation, decorations and Christmas lighting are the leading causes of accidental fires occurring during the festive period. The following informative video from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) is presented for your information.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Tree Safety - UL Safety Tour

Here is another informative video by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) about live Christmas trees and the appropriate precautions to be observed during the festive season. Should you have questions or need clarification feel free to contact us:

Christmas Tree Safety

The Holiday Season is with us once again, and so we present these helpful fire safety tips to guide you as your preparations for the festive season continues. This video is brought to you by the National Fire Protection Association.... Remember be fire smart.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy 44th Independence Barbados

"To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness". ~ Mahatma Gandhi

We take this opportunity to extend warmest greetings to all Barbadians on this the 44th Anniversary of Independence.


Firefighter Awarded Bravery Medal

We extend a hearty congratulations to Fire Officer Pernel Leeverne McClean. Officer McClean was awarded the Barbados Bravery Medal (BM) during the Awards of National Honours for Independence Day 2010 for his courageous act of saving the life of Miss Charlotte Parris whose vehicle careened into the Belle Gully during a flash flood on October 1, 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Four Hurt In Smash-up

Four people, including three children, had to be taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after being involved in a two-vehicle accident in St George yesterday.

A car and a truck were involved in a collision on Lower Greys Road around 8:30 a.m., resulting in injuries to the car’s driver, 46-year-old Kenneth Hunte, and his children, Kenron, 2, Kalisha, 5, and Kanisha, 7.

The father had to be extracted from the vehicle by the Barbados Fire Service.

The truck was driven by 35-year-old Alvin Nurse of Friendship, St George. Above, police officers at the scene. (AH)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Centenarian Dies In Fire

A house fire of unknown origin claimed the life of one of Barbados' centenarians this afternoon.

According to police reports the victim who was yet to be positively identified up to Press time is believed to be that of 100-year-old Vermilia Prince who occupied the wood and wall structure at No 54 Ixora Crescent Sunflower Drive, Cane Garden, St. Thomas, that went up in flames around 5:20 p.m.

Police were still at the scene, along with a number of curious onlookers, around 7 p.m. (JS)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Abandoned House Burns To The Ground

Fire broke out just after 2 p.m. yesterday in Goodland, St. Michael. By the time the smoke cleared three people were lucky to still have their home standing, while an unoccupied house was destroyed.

Six fire officers under the command of acting Station Officer Christopher Edwards and Leading Fire Officer Alex Bynoe responded to the blaze which involved an unoccupied two bedroom, one bathroom house owned by Clifford Bishop, of Constant, St. George. An occupied three bedroom, one bathroom house owned by Rita Murray, of Bush Hall, St. Michael also received damage to the siding boards, three windows and the trimming boards.

Two tenders, one from the headquarters at Probyn Street, The City and another from the Arch Hall Fire Station responded to the blaze. (JRB)

Soure: Barbados Today

Friday, November 12, 2010

Remembrance Day This Sunday

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart will officiate at his first Remembrance Day service this Sunday, November 14 in National Heroes Square, Bridgetown, as this country remembers those persons who lost their lives in the two world wars.

The short inter-denominational service will get under way at 8:00 a.m. with two minutes silence and the sounding of the Last Post. Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Leader of the Opposition, Owen Arthur and members of the diplomatic corps, will also lay wreaths at the Cenotaph.

There will be a parade by armed units of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF), the Barbados Coast Guard, the band of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Barbados Cadet Corps; as well as unarmed units of the Barbados Fire Service, the Barbados Prison Service, the Barbados Girl Guides Association, the band of the BDF, the St. John's Ambulance Service, the Barbados Red Cross, the Barbados Boy Scouts Association and members of the Barbados Legion. (BGIS)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caribbean Fire Chiefs 2010 Conference

The Caribbean Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) 2010 Fire-Rescue-EMS Conference will be held in Montego Bay, Jamaica from November 28 - December 3, 2010 at the Rosehall Resort and Spa.

The CAFC conference is the largest annual gathering of fire-rescue professionals in the Caribbean. The host department this year will be the Jamaica Fire Brigade lead by Commissioner Laurie Williams. For more information visit:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remembrance Day - Sunday November 14

Barbadians will join the rest of the world in remembering servicemen and women who lost their lives in the World Wars, by observing Remembrance Day on Sunday, November 14.

At the conclusion of two minutes silence and the sounding of the Last Post, Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and members of the diplomatic corps will lay wreaths at the war memorial in National Heroes Square, the City.

The short interdenominational service will get under way at 8:00 a.m. and will feature a parade by members of the Barbados Defence Force, the Cadet Corps and other uniformed groups, as well as war veterans.

Persons desirous of laying wreaths and relatives of those who gave their lives during the World Wars and wishing to be seated, should however, notify the Cabinet Office, Government Headquarters, Bay Street, St. Michael.

Tickets can be collected from Cabinet Office, on weekdays, from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CL/BGIS)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Firefighter Games In Arima

The Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service Association will host the Caribbean Association of Firefighters (CAFF) Good Will Games tomorrow at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima.

The games, which begin at 10 am, will be attended by fire officers from Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitt’s and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Minister of Sports Anil Roberts, Minister in the Ministry of National Security Subhas Panday, and Chief Fire Officer Carl Williams are all expected to kick off the games with a special salute ceremony to all the officers from the region.

CAFF President Charles Ramsaroop described the event as a significant milestone for the Association, as it showed their strong attempts at integrating a uniformed system throughout the Caribbean through training, sporting events, and cultural activities.

“We would all have different backgrounds and different levels of training. This event brings together all those things in a very unique way,” Ramsaroop explained.

The event is also expected to continue on Saturday.

The CAFF was established on October 26, 2000 in Castries, St Lucia. The Association provides an umbrella organisation for fire fighters in the Caribbean by presenting a united body geared towards improving the conditions of respective fire departments through education and other basic support services. It recognises fire fighters as professionals who work relentlessly, forever raising professional standards.


Fire At Sam Lord’s Castle

People watched in awe, despair, disgust and a slew of other emotions as historic Sam Lords Castle burned yesterday evening.

Spectators from the surrounding area gathered to watch fire officials unsuccessfully battle the blaze which consumed the once stately building.

Shareholder, Thomas Grant, called it a “disgrace”.

“It is a disgrace to see the building left this way and now it has gone up in smoke,” he said.

Grant said most of the buildings had already been destroyed by CLICO, who were in the process of acquiring the property, and the castle section was one of the few buildings left.

Divisional Officer, Tyrone Trotman, said one of the problems they faced was a lack of nearby fire hydrants so they had to collect water from hydrants in the surrounding area and bring it to the combined ladder platform appliance for distribution.

As the evening wore on, the fire continued to burn, when asked, Trotman said he had little hope of saving the building.


Island’s Only ‘Castle’ Gutted By Fire

A piece of Barbadian history last night went up in flames.

Sam Lord’s Castle, the historic hotel property acquired by CLICO from previous owner Thomas Grant, was gutted by a fire which set the St. Phillip sky ablaze yesterday evening. The flames, which first appeared in the roof during the late afternoon, soon became a raging fire that engulfed the building as the evening progressed.

Acting Fire Chief Lloydson Phillips told the Barbados Advocate that his department received reports of the fire at 5:41 p.m. and responded immediately. The scene was attended by five senior officers, 18 junior officers and five fire trucks. However, it was of little use as the main building was already overwhelmed by the bright orange flames.

“The whole building was engulfed,” said acting Division Officer, Tyrone Trotman. However, firefighters made efforts to contain the fire to the building, which was surrounded by thick vegetation.

“We are using a combined attack – aerial ladder platform and ground attack by the hoselines,” explained Trotman.

He was however unable to give an estimate of how long it would take to extinguish the fire, which was still burning as 7 p.m. approached.

President of CLICO (Barbados) Holdings, Terrence Thornhill, described the event as “terribly and extremely sad”, given the plans the company had for restoring the resort.

Former chairman and director CLICO, Leroy Parris, told this newspaper he was “disappointed” at the news of the fire. He also commented that it was a shame for such a historic building to have been lost in such a manner.

Former owner, Thomas Grant, told reporters at the scene that it was “heartbreaking” to watch the demise of the Regency mansion, built in 1820.

“It’s just a really hurtful situation this afternoon. To see a property like this which is so historic… and it’s just gone up in flames.”

His sentiments were echoed by several of the many onlookers at the scene, who commented on how moved they were to see such a Barbadian icon being destroyed by fire. As they watched, parts of the building collapsed, sending ash, small flames and plumes of dark smoke into the night sky. One gentleman commented, “It’s really a shame. It shouldn’t have come to this. That’s a piece of Barbadian history being lost right there.”

CLICO acquisition

In CLICO’s 2007 Chairman's Report and Annual Report, then chairman Leroy Parris stated, “Our acquisition of Sam Lord’s Castle is a courageous act and one born of the firm conviction that we must play a direct role in advancing this industry [tourism]. Our investment in the Sam Lord’s Castle hotel project will exceed US $200 million and will play a major role in the revitalisation of the South East corridor of Barbados.”

Then in a January 27, 2009 press conference, CLICO officials announced that construction on a planned $300 million hotel and condominium project at Sam Lord’s Castle by CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd. was expected to begin in the second quarter of 2009. In addition, President Thornhill said the company was in discussion with a flagship hotel brand to partner on the project, and these negotiations were close to conclusion.

Just three days later, however, the financial stability of CLICO (Barbados) came under intense scrutiny when news broke that a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed on between its parent company C.L. Financial, the Trinidad Government and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago to assist CLICO (Trinidad) with certain challenges.

Yesterday, Thornhill confirmed that those troubles with the parent company had prevented CLICO (Barbados) from moving ahead with their redevelopment plans at Sam Lord’s.

Government proposes buy-out

After the onset of CLICO’s financial woes, Government late last year announced its intention to buy out the property from CLICO, and noted that is was seeking a joint venture arrangement to assist with the restoration of the site of the former Marriott’s Resort.

While there has no been confirmation of the sale going through, when asked about the plans for the property last night at the scene of the fire, Thornhill indicated that it would be up to Government. He told the media that given that Government has decided to compulsorily acquire the property, it would be up to them to redevelop the now gutted property.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Fire Service Cruise 2010

"Foot On Fire Pon De Boat"

The officers and members of the Barbados Fire Service Sports and Social Club will take to the sea for their annual cruise on Friday, October 22, 2010 on board the M.V. Harbour Master from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.

Tickets can be obtained from Ryan Lovell 242-5533, David Vaughan 252-9199, Troy Gibbons 263-8712 or Grantley Greene 243-0824. Advance tickets are $45.00 and $50.00 at the dockside.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cafe Sol: We Will Reopen

A “labour of love” is how co owner of Cafe Sol Jacinta Cothrin describes the Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar which was extensively damaged by fire in the early this morning.

Jacinta, and her husband Mark Cothrin, say they received the call around 6 a.m.

“Apparently, the fire happened just after 4 a.m but nobody managed to get through to us until minutes to six. Right now, we are not sure as to the extent of the damage as the police is not allowing anyone inside,” says Mark. The property is insured he says.

Jacinta describes it as a “precious little spot” and says what happened was “awful”. “It was a very personal thing for is and it really hurts but we are determined to reopen, we won’t let this stop us,” she says.

Fire officials report that two water tenders - one from Worthing and one from Probyn Street headquarters - responded to the fire. The operation was under the command of Divisional Officer Evans Morris. Investigations are continuing.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rescued Driver’s Dad Tells Story

It happened in a flash.

One minute Charlotte Parris was sitting in her car waiting patiently for another vehicle to proceed through water; the next thing she knew she was deep in a ravine, standing on top her vehicle and grabbing onto branches for dear life.

It was Friday evening that firemen and good Samaritans combined their efforts to pull a shaken Parris to safety, using an inner tube and some rope at the Belle, St Michael.

Still too traumatised by last Friday evening’s life-threatening event, Charlotte could not speak to the DAILY NATION, so her father Mike Parris spoke on her behalf, saying his daughter was “unhurt, but still very shaken”.

Parris, who recalled the event that could have claimed his daughter’s life, said she was giving great thanks to the Fire Service for the sterling job they performed in the rescue.

“The Fire Service showed tremendous bravery. They responded very quickly with two tenders to the scene, headed by leading fire officer 80 Boyce.

“I must say a special thank you to 246 McClean – he was the one who jumped into the raging waters. He made an attempt but underestimated the current in the water and had to be pulled out before he could go in again.

“124 Barrow and 290 Harewood, they all came from the headquarters in Probyn Street and they did an excellent job,” he said in the interview.

Parris said he was concerned that the incident could have happened to anyone travelling in that area since the railings there had been broken. He said Government needed to do something urgently about it.

“The area is one where water goes over the road to a ravine at the back. When water rushes down, it goes into a 30-foot ravine.

“My daughter was on dry road waiting for another vehicle to go through water, when something broke, and a four-foot wave came from behind the car, lifted the car, rammed it into the wall, flipped the car around and then burst the barrier and dropped her into the gully,” he recalled.

Parris said “divine intervention” told her to kick open the door.

“When she kicked open the door, the car filled quickly and sank, and then there were some tree stumps which held it in place. Two feet behind the car was a 30-foot well, which the car would have sunk and gone into,” he lamented.

“This is a serious area that the Government needs to sort out and there are 30 to 40-foot drops without any barriers: so it needs to be rectified. That well, too, has concrete blocks all around it, but it is big enough to hold a car,” he noted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Snatched From Raging Waters

It was a rescue like no other. But firefighters - Andrew Boyce, Pernel McClean, Glenn Harewood and Anderson Barrow were up to the task.

It was their efforts, with the assistance of some civilians that brought Charlotte Parris to safe ground after she was trapped on top her car with raging waters surrounding her.

That rescue took about 15 minutes.

Pernel McClean (left) relives the rescue during an interview with the Nation earlier today. Glenn Harewood was also on the scene using his muscle and might to bring the woman to safety.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Land Rover For Fire Service

For the next two months, the Barbados Fire Service (BFS) will have a Land Rover LR3 at its service.

The BFS was presented with the vehicle which is valued at over $350 000, along with hoses, smoke alarms, first aid kits and fire extinguishers, to assist their Fire Prevention and Community Relations Unit, during a ceremony at their Probyn Street headquarters yesterday.

The materials, which were donated by the Rotary West of Barbados, G4S Security, and Warrens Motors, who also donated the vehicle, will be used to help in assisting the fire service with their fire prevention programmes.

Chief Fire Officer, Wilfred Marshall, who was hand to witness the presentation, explained that for years the BFS had been spreading the message of fire prevention across Barbados, but due to several reasons including a lack of financial and equipment resources, as well as the absence of a dedicated Fire Prevention Unit, their efforts had been short lived.

He pointed out, however, that with the help of those companies who had come on board, the materials would go a long way in supporting the implementation of two of the service’s newest programmes, the Fighting Fire with Fire Prevention (FFFP) and the Home Assistance Smoke Alarm Programme (HASAP).

Sales and Marketing Manager at Warrens Motors, Mark Doherty, who made the presentation, explained that the vehicle would be used to help in delivering the wide range of equipment to the various households around the island.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Swept Away

Fire fighters plucked Charlotte Parris from atop the roof of this car in The Belle, St Michael yesterday after fierce waters forced it off the road and into a gully.

It took the combined efforts of firemen and some good Samaritans to pull a shaken Parris to safety using an inner tube and some rope.

The incident was one of several resulting from the downpour brought on by a combination of light winds and an abundance of low-level moisture and strong daytime heat.

Parts of St Michael, St James and St Thomas were hard-hit by the rains.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chief Fire Officer: Not Enough Citizens Taking Fire Prevention Seriously

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall has expressed concern about the high number of structural fires taking place in Barbados, in particular private dwelling houses and commercial building fires. Marshall has noted that while some fires are due to carelessness on the part of homeowners and others have been deemed as “suspicious”, a number of these fires have been classified as “undetermined”.

Homeowners and people in general still have a role to play in fire prevention, he has noted. Speaking to the Barbados Advocate yesterday at Barbados Fire Service Headquarters located at Probyn Street Bridgetown, the Chief Fire Officer lamented about the number of fires of which the origin has not been determined. “I am always concerned that we have a high percentage of undetermined fires. We work closely with the police in terms of determining the cause of fires and so it is not only the Fire Service that is involved in determining the cause of a fire. We work closely with them as they bring a forensic approach and we also use our skills and expertise etc.,” he stated.

He however outlined the role citizens can play in fire prevention, as the Fire Service is not satisfied that Barbadians are doing their best to prevent incidents. “I am also concerned about electrical appliances and general electrical wiring. We go into some homes and we see people have frayed wiring and they are quite comfortable with it, but we know that from what we see, that broken wires can easily start a fire. So they need to pay attention to that,” Marshall said. “Also, burning refuse around the home. It’s a culture in Barbados where we try to get rid of our garbage by burning and the thing about fire is that we always think we are in charge of the fire, but I always say that fire has a mind of its own. When people are burning garbage, they light it and think it is under control and they just step back in to the house and then the next thing you see, it is spreading to a next neighbour’s property or is out of control,” he added.

Marshall also noted that citizens should pay attention in the kitchen when they are cooking. “Very frequently, people start to cook and they are very tired and they drop to sleep or they get distracted by the telephone of television or something, forgetting that they have something on the stove. We have seen instances of this. So these are little things that people need to pay attention to,” he also remarked.

Marshall is also advising homeowners to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in their homes as safety measures. “Smoke detector alerting systems will let you know when there is fire in the home, so once you hear that, you can either get to a point of safety if it is too much for you, or if it is a small fire at the incipient stage, you can use a fire extinguisher and extinguish it. These are things that person can have in their homes to cut down on the amount of fires,” the Chief Fire Officer said. (RSM)


Fire Service Frowns On Open Burning

The Barbados Fire Service in no way condones indiscriminate burning, also known as open burning in communities across Barbados. In fact, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall believes that this is a cultural practice which should be stamped out.

Marshall shared his views with the Barbados Advocate on this matter this week. He noted that the Fire Service is presently working with a committee set up by Government, to explore whether legislation is needed to tackle the issue of indiscriminate burning in Barbados, as has been proposed to deal with smoking in public places. The smoking ban is set to come into effect this Friday, October 1st.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that if people do burn, that they burn in a safe environment. But we have a national responsibility to join with other civic organisations and right now, there is a committee set up under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, which is looking at legislation to deal with the burning of refuse. They are still in discussions as to how far they are going to go on it, but the Fire Service is represented on that committee and we will play our part,” Marshall assured.

The Chief Fire Officer noted that while the ideal would be to have persons refrain from lighting up in the open in communities, some recommendations should be made in the absence of legislation. “Until we can get persons to stop burning refuse, we as a Fire Safety organisation would say, if you are going to burn, burn in small heaps that you can control,” Marshall advised.

“We do not encourage you to burn. In fact, in recent times, we have had persons calling trying to get rid of rubbish and so on and we tell them find other ways to get rid of it, because the Ministry of Health and the environmentalist are coming down on this particular issue and we have a civic responsibility to join them. But if people still feel that they have to burn in the absence of legislation, they should do it in a way that they do not hurt themselves or other people’s properties,” Marshall said.


Risky Business


Too Many Fires

Chief fire officer, Wilfred Marshall says the fire service in Barbados has been fully stretched this year.

According to Mr. Marshall there's been an increase in the number of blazes across the country.
Fires in all categories are up this year over the numbers recorded last year.

Chief Fire Officer, Wilfred Marshall gave the statistics during a church service at the Collymore Rock Nazarene Church to mark fire service week.

Mr. Marshall said there were 1990 fires in 2009, and to date 2284 this year, broken down like this. 19 commercial fires in 2009, and 20 up to September this year, 86 house fires in 2009, but 108 so far this year.

The Fire Chief says the service's Prevention and Community Relations Department has also been busy, having trained over 24 thousand nursery and primary school students over the last three years, in fire prevention.

He says they've also done training and other education drives at commercial and community organisations, recording close to one thousand people in those various initiatives.

But according to the Chief, the Fire Service needs the public's help in keeping Barbados safe. He's also encouraged businesses to help the fire service develop and implement community strategies that will make homes and business places fire safe.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fire Service To Celebrate 55 Years

Come next week, this country's Fire Service will celebrate its 55th anniversary.

And to mark the occasion, the department will host several activities under the theme "Raising the Bar of Excellence through Service".

The week will begin with divine worship on Sunday, September 26, at the Church of the Nazarene, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, starting at 8:00 a.m.

There will also be a series of open days from Monday, September 27 to Friday, October 1, at all Fire Stations. These will commence at 10:00 a.m. and the public will have the opportunity to visit and tour the facilities.

Also on Monday, September 27, there will be a health & safety extravaganza at the headquarters, of the Barbados Fire Service Probyn Street, Bridgetown.

Visitors can get their cholesterol and blood pressure checked as well as know their HIV/AIDS status. Massages and pedicures will also be available, and tips on fire safety will be exhibited.

The following day, Tuesday, September 28, there will be an inter-station cook-off at the Probyn Street Station, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

A Twenty/20 Cricket and Football match will get top billing at a Sports and Fun day on Thursday, September 30 at the Passage Road grounds. During this encounter, firemen will tackle their counterparts at the Barbados Prison Service in football and do battle against the National Women's cricket team.

A parade and awards ceremony will take place at the Arch Hall Fire Station in St. Thomas on Friday, October 1 at 3:30 p.m.

The activities will culminate on Saturday, October 2, with a family-fun-fair, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Fire Service headquarters, Probyn Street, Bridgetown. There will also be many attractions such as face painting, lucky dip, jumping tent and movie room. The public is invited. (BGIS/TB)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chief: Firemen Hurt By Harsh Words

Firefighters did all that was humanly possible to save the lives of the six young women who perished in the Campus Trendz fire in Tudor Street, The City earlier this month.

Reeling under widespread public condemnation over the handling of the September 3 tragedy, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall said the attacks had damaged the morale of the Fire Department.

“There were fire officers who actually cried because they were on the scene working and they gave of their best. They felt very hurt when all these negative comments were coming at them as if no effort was made to reach the victims in the fire,” he told the WEEKEND NATION in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Marshall said some of his firefighters placed their own lives on the line, reaching as much as 25 feet to 30 feet within the raging inferno.

“The impression coming from members of the public that the firefighters didn’t make any effort to save [the victims] was far from the truth.”

Describing the blaze as one of the toughest he had experienced in his 35-year career, Marshall said, “We were fighting against a compact building, there wasn’t a window that we could have burst. Normally in other buildings you would see us burst windows or create openings to allow gases or smoke to come out, but there was no opportunity there,” he said.

The fire chief said their eventual entry at the back of the building took exceptionally long since it was a “soft-stone” wall which was difficult to penetrate.

He dismissed suggestions that the firemen should have gone through the roof.

“Once you go through the roof and create an opening you are sending the fire to the roof of the building,” he pointed out.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chief: Firemen Receiving Verbal Threats

Some members of the public have been threatening fire officers to the point where they fear for their own safety at some fire scenes.

In a telephone interview yesterday, acting Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall said there had been at least two reports of verbal abuse at fire scenes recently, adding that his officers needed to focus on the job at hand and not be distracted.

“Ever since [the fatal September 3 Tudor Street fire] there have been negative comments about us on call-in programmes.

on at least two occasions, in St Michael and Christ Church, we have had some hostile remarks made to officers as they responded to fires and some officers have been scared by some of those remarks.

“We understand the situation; we are trying to be professional and we are asking people to also be understanding to the circumstances we operate in. When we are called to a fire, we cannot be distracted and looking over our shoulder at people making threats. Let us focus on the mission, which is fighting the fire,” he said.

Marshall said they had reported those incidents to the police. He said they had no desire to antagonise the situation but reminded the public that a police escort was standard operating procedure when responding to a fire. (CA)


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Association Urges Training Scheme For Regional Firefighters

President of the Caribbean Association of Firefighters Charles Ramsaroop says the association would be approaching heads of departments regionally for firefighters to access advance training. In an interview yesterday, Ramsaroop, who is also president of the local Fire Service Association said: “There was a strategic plan for a memorandum of understanding where we can access training from other islands and from the T&T Fire Service. Some islands do not have that level of training and expertise.” The executive body of the association met last weekend at Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre.

Representatives from Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique and Trinidad and Tobago attended. Ramsaroop said: “We want all the members to be able to access training techniques in fire-fighting, We will be approaching representatives in Martinique who has training facilities. We will be writing to the Barbados Fire Service to access two areas of training.” The association is expected to host its Goodwill Games on October 22 and 23.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fire And Police Personnel Receive Training In Arson Investigations

Police and fire personnel now have a stronger foundation in their examination of fire and arson cases.

This comes as 21 participants from local and regional emergency agencies took part in a fire and arson investigations course last week at the Regional Police Training Centre at Paragon.

“From a local perspective, we within the Royal Barbados Police Force have not been very successful in our investigation of fires,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Oral Williams, adding that this stemmed from a lack of skills and expertise in the investigation of such incidents.

“The lack of these skills has serious implications for a community. For one, when persons are able to intentionally set fires and are not identified and are not brought to justice, it engenders a confidence with the perpetrators and can act as a catalyst for repeated acts,” he stated on Friday evening during the closing ceremony.

He said fires often resulted in insurance companies having to make great payouts in loss to others, damage to adjacent properties, loss of employment and, at times, serious injury and death to persons.

“Whatever the outcome, it is a price we can ill-afford to pay in these trying economic times,” he said.

He remarked that in order for investigations into fires to be successful, there was the recognition that both fire and police personnel had to be able to effectively work together.

“The fire officers’ primary goal would be to rescue persons and extinguish the blaze. Police officers, on the other hand, come in on the back end to do the investigations, process the scene, collect evidence, have it analysed and present a case report where criminal intent exists.

“What the fireman does or does not do in his initial response can severely hamper the ability to complete a successful investigation,” he continued.

In addition, he stated that the joint training initiative would ensure that persons from both agencies were on the same page with regards to fire and arson investigations. (JMB)


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fire Kills 6 In Town

Six people perished last night in a blaze that could go down as one of Barbados’ worst human tragedies.

A fire believed to have started by two men who robbed the Campus Trendz store in Tudor Street, The City, engulfed the two-storey building along the busy shopping street, trapping the hapless victims within the inferno.

Confirmed dead is 18-year-old Shanna Griffith, an employee of the store who reportedly died in an ambulance en route to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Unconfirmed reports also indicated that five other females perished, including a toddler, other staff and customers.

A female supervisor also had to be treated on the scene for several cutlass wounds, believed to have been inflicted by one of the robbers. Up to press time, her condition was unknown.

According to police, the two robbers, in view of shocked customers, threw an incendiary device into Campus Trendz just before 7 p.m., after taking an undisclosed amount of cash.

An eyewitness told the SATURDAY SUN he was standing on the pavement just yards away from the store when a young man hurriedly dashed along the sidewalk. “Then a second fellah with something like a scarf over his face ran behind him and then I heard this big explosion.

“Within minutes I saw this big gush of smoke and the whole of the store was on fire. I have never seen anything like that,” he said. The eyewitness added that a few people who were outside rushed to assist, but the flames were fierce, and had “literally swallowed the doorway”.

It is believed that following the cutlass attack by the robbers and the subsequent explosion, the people inside Campus Trendz panicked and ran to the back of the building, trapping themselves in the process.

Over 41 firemen and six tenders fought the blaze which had threatened to extend to other buildings along Tudor Street. Family members and close friends had kept vigil along the smoke-filled street awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones.

At 10:40 p.m. when the flames had subsided, fire-fighters finally entered through a hole which was dug at the back of the building, where they found a badly-burnt Griffith huddled in the bathroom.

Griffith, 18, of Pile Bay, Spring Garden, St Michael, was rushed into an ambulance, but also died. By 11:22 p.m. when the last ambulance left there were confirmed reports that five bodies had been recovered.

Scores of onlookers converged on Tudor Street causing numerous problems for police, prompting police public relations officer Inspector David Welch to go live on radio appealing for better behaviour.


Tragic Blaze At Tudor Street Store


That was the situation last night in Bridgetown when at approximately 7:05 pm the first emergency respondents attended to a fire at Campus Trendz Boutique, Tudor Street, the scene of an unsuccessful robbery attempt.

Hundreds of curious onlookers gathered behind several barricades erected by officials on both ends of the street to witness the horrifying events which unfolded before their eyes.

As it became apparent that persons had been trapped inside the building and were injured, perhaps fatally, the mood turned sombre as grieving family members turned to emergency personnel for solace.

Up to press time, Inspector David Welch, Public Relations Officer for the Royal Barbados Police Force, confirmed that one injured female was taken away by ambulance and an additional five female bodies were confirmed to be inside of the building which had been consumed by thick, acrid smoke.

Welch indicated that all efforts were being made to search the remaining areas within the two-storey building to make sure all persons were accounted for so that forensic investigators could subsequently move in to conduct a thorough investigation of the crime scene.

One person, believed to be the manager of the clothing store, had earlier in the night been taken to the hospital for an injury to her leg.

Three of the bodies that had been found were thought to be employees and two customers, while authorities were “uncertain” about the identity of the remaining person.

Six Barbados Fire Service vehicles, Department of Emergency Management and Royal Barbados Police Force and Defence Force personnel responded to the fire which continued to burn late into the night. (EL/TL)


Friday, September 3, 2010

Fire Damages Hotel In The Gap

Investigations are continuing into a fire yesterday at a St Lawrence hotel complex still under construction. Fire officials responded to around 8:30 a.m. to a call at the hotel, owned by Ocean Two Ltd.

A fire officer told the media there was damage to a stove, windows and some boxes but the fire was contained within ten minutes, causing only moderate damage.

One worker said he was in one of the rooms when he saw people running and shouting: “Bring a bucket,” but had no idea what was going on.

Eight fire officers, under the command of Station Officer Ormond Fenty, responded to the fire, utilising a fire tender from Worthing and another tender as well as an aerial appliance from Probyn Street Headquarters.

Site foreman with contractors Shelby Construction, Trevor Lucas, said construction on the hotel began in February 2008. It employs more than 100 workers. (CA)


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fire Leaves 15 Homeless

Fifteen people were left homeless this afternoon when fire tore through their Hothersal Turning, St. Michael home just after 4:15. Not even the swift response of the Barbados Fire Service and neighbours could save the wooden structure, which was owned by Jackie Griffith and occupied by her children and their offspring.

According to Janelle Griffith, who has lived in the house for all of her 30 years, only her sister Katrina was at home when the blaze started and she was asleep.

"We are still trying to figure out what happened," Janelle Griffith said to Barbados TODAY, while pointing out as darkness set in that the family still did not know where they would spend the night.

Among those left homeless were: Kimberley Griffith, who will be 23 tomorrow, Katrina, 20, Tasha "Sherry-Ann" Broomes, 25, Sheldeene Applewhaite, 34, and Sherry Murrell, 30 along with children Jerome Blackman, Jakobi, Sheridan, Amari, Kadija and Kayla Murrell and Fabian Griffith.

Late this evening the family spoke by telephone with Minister of Housing Michael Lashley, who put them in contact with senior officials of the National Housing Corporation, who at the time of publication was searching for emergency accommodation for the family.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Firefighters Launch Online Store

We are please to announce the launch of our online store. Members of the public are invited to visit the store and view over 30 different products available for purchase. To order merchandise all you need is a Visa Card, MasterCard or American Express Card. Payments may also be made using Pay-Pal as well.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Young Fire Masters Graduate

The twenty-three junior fire cadets who graduated from the 10th annual Barbados Fire Service Junior Fire Cadet Programme on Friday evening were encouraged to continue on the path towards becoming skilled firemen and women of the Barbados Fire and Rescue Service.

Master of Ceremonies, Roger Bourne, divulged some of the future plans for the programme: “It has been the service’s desire over the years to take these children after they have passed through and bring them back into a structured environment where they can use those skills comfortably for the development of the service.

“It has been taking some time but I am sure that some point in the future we will be able to achieve that objective, where we can invite the young ones to come back and perhaps go along with some of the senior fire officers in installing smoke alarms in the houses of elderly persons and other community services,” he stated during an enjoyable and well attended ceremony at the Arch Hall Fire Station in Thomas.

He added that the key to building a stronger fire service is to train the individuals and follow that up with drawing on their resources to further the fire prevention programmes. The cadets were the stars of the ceremony as they provided brilliant entertainment during the drill displays in showing off their newly-acquired but already mastered fire-fighting skills.

Sharp footed marching preceded the eagerly anticipated fire inclusive fire extinguisher, group and one-man hose and hydrant and fire blanket drills – all of which were expertly and successfully executed in removing the simulated fire threats.

Speaking on the origins and importance of the cadet programme, Bourne said service oriented children such as those involved in Girl Guides and Boy Scouts were initially targeted in the camp’s earlier years but that a decision was taken to incorporate students from a wider cross-section of the community that were likely to have a high level of discipline.

“You can see how taking that group of individuals and moulding them into a unit, how much work and dedication it would take, because you have to spend an additional period of time adapting to the attitude and modify some of their behaviours and attitudes,” he said, in commending the facilitating instructors.

In her brief remarks, Patricia Worrell, parent of cadet Sherria Worrell, said the programme stood out from among the other summer camps being conducted around the island, especially since her initially sceptical daughter immersed herself in learning from her new experiences.

“I was pleased to see that in addition to the fun activities such as sports and craft, it offered essential life skills, discipline, team-building, water conservation and fire safety and prevention and I am sure most parents would agree that the...children had life-altering experiences,” she announced.

Gratitude was also expressed towards the camp sponsors SOL (Barbados) Limited and Roberts Manufacturing who “have under-written the costs by supporting year after recognising its value” and assurance given that another 10 years of the programme will be supported even more by corporate Barbados.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Burnt Out

A daring daylight robbery at Chicken Galore came to a fiery conclusion on Bank Hall Main Road, St. Michael around 3:20 this afternoon.

Depot manager Ingrid Eastmond said a man entered the store and demanded money from the cashier, which he received. However, he immediately lit a piece of cloth in a bottle he was carrying and threw it behind the counter resulting in the store becoming engulfed in flames.

This forced staff and customers inside the store to scamper for safety as the fire quickly spread. A visibly shaken employee Wendy Ross, who was in the store at the time, was seated in a car awaiting the arrival of an ambulance, when a Barbados TODAY team arrived on the scene. But up until 5 p.m. the ambulance had not arrived.

Meanwhile, other employees stood nearby and watched as firemen worked at extinguishing the blaze. The road was quickly cordoned off by police as traffic began to build with the approach of rush hour and crowds began to gather.

One regular customer said she was parking to come into the outlet when she saw a man wearing a white shirt and black pants running from the store. She wondered what was going on, but soon learnt that the store was robbed and on fire. Without hesitation, the woman said she called the police and went to the assistance of a female employee from the store who was visibly shaken.

However, a car owner is counting his losses after accidently locking the keys inside the vehicle which was parked right next to the burning building. That’s because onlookers moved swiftly to break the window with a brick and drove the car to safety. Police public relations officer Inspector David Welch said they received a call from a woman around 3:32 p.m. indicating that Chicken Galore had been robbed. An estimate of the damage could not be determined up to Press time.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Move To Curb Fires In City

Firefighters are in the process of interviewing residents in New Orleans in a fire prevention campaign targeted directly at residents of Bridgetown and its environs. This community risk assessment survey of households in and around The City is in preparation for the Fighting Fire With Fire Protection Programme. It is tailored to reduce residential house fires and improve life safety conditions.

Members of the Barbados Fire Service Fire Prevention and Community Relations Unit are calling on households daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “We are collecting data about fire and other hazards which may exist in these communities, for implementing a strategy to reduce the level of risk, improve life safety and furnish residents with knowledge, tools and equipment,” said Acting Chief Fire Officer Randolph Cox.

“They could then respond appropriately to certain incidents while in the initial stages, consequently limiting the chances of outright or total loss in some instances.” The Fire Service and the Rotary Club of Barbados West joined together to create the Fighting Fire With Fire Protection Programme that will be rolled out during International Fire Prevention Week October 3-9.

This approach is intended to:
• instal and maintain fire safety systems to protect people and property from fire;
• reduce fire risk, thereby creating a fire safe community;
• create goodwill and better customer service within urban communities;
• ensure that appropriate training and information is provided on fire safety to the community;
• contribute to community development, and,
• provide conditions for insurability through risk reduction.

“The Barbados Fire Service continues to be challenged with a high incidence of calls to structural fires, which [cause] a significant level of loss from fire damage to both residential and commercial properties,” said Cox. “In this context,” he added, “the service will be using this year’s theme Beep! Beep! Beep! Smoke Alarm: A Sound You Can Live With to guide the focus for this programme. Its ultimate success, however, is dependent on the cooperation of the residents.” (BGIS)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hired Car Business Gutted By Fire

The Ballantyne family at Durants, St James, had one of their biggest shocks yesterday morning when fire broke out in the garage adjoining two homes.

Six vehicles belonging to the family’s hired car business were burnt, and family member Rudolph Ballantyne said he estimated the loss at more than $100 000.

Proprietor of the business, Bibian Ballantyne, was overseas. His son Rudolph said the cars were being repaired. The fire was brought under control in less than an hour.

Acting Divisional Officer at the Arch Hall Fire Station, Glanville Collins, confirmed they responded to the call around 9:12 a.m., with four fire tenders, two from Arch Hall, one from Weston and the other from Bridgetown.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Exercise Caution This Busy Weekend

Members of the public are encouraged to exercise caution during this busy Crop Over weekend period. As the level of alcohol consumption increases, motorist should be extremely vigilant on our highways.

The Barbados Fire Service will be continuing its operational deployment by providing fire/rescue coverage and complimentary stand by (mass crowd events) at the following events; Bridgetown Market, Cohobblopot and Grand Kadooment.

Photo compliments: Antonio Beckles

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gas Attendant Hurt In Crash

Attendant Jamar Gittens was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after being injured when a car careered off the road into the Shell Service Station at Triple D Enterprises Complex at Mapp Hill, St Michael, about 6:30 p.m. yesterday. The gas pump beside which Gittens was seated was struck by the car.

Both police and Barbados Fire Service officials went to the scene and the immediate area was barred from vehicular and pedestrian traffic as a precaution because of the gasoline fumes escaping from the pump.

An elderly couple was in the vehicle but neither reportedly received injuries. They declined to speak to the Press.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Rising Stars Summer Camp Visit Fire Station

Janice Holder and 45 children from the Rising Stars Child Care Services Summer camp enjoyed a fun-filled tour of Fire Service Headquarters this morning. The Rising Stars summer camp which is based in St George was making their first ever visit to a fire station.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gran’s Hero: Right-hand Man Maloney

Junior Maloney has no idea where he got the strength to pull both his 17-month-old daughter and 80-plus-year-old grandmother from their burning home – but thanks to God he was able to.

Maloney was describing to the SUNDAY SUN what happened last Tuesday when his uncle Shirley Holder’s home was virtually destroyed by fire. It was clear the 37-year-old graphic artist spared little thought for himself.

“I was talking to my aunt next door when we smelled something funny. She went to look and then I heard her scream, ‘Shirley! Bring back water!’ When I ran out, the fire was already in their verandah,” he said.

The fire consumed most of Holder’s 1st Avenue, Promenade Road, St Michael, home which he shared with his wife, daughter and three grandchildren, and soon spread next door to the home of Maloney’s grandmother Pearl Holder, where Maloney and his daughter live.

Maloney said they initially tried to slow the fire, but he soon realised it was a lost cause and sprang to action in getting his family out. He said his grandmother and daughter were sleeping in their bedroom which was directly beside where the fire started next door.

“I ran back home next door to get my child and grandmother out from the bedroom. She suffers with bad arthritis so she can’t move too well; so I had to carry my daughter in one arm and lift my grandmother from around the waist with the other. I don’t know where I found the strength,” he said.

Afterwards, he continued his efforts to contain the fire and prevent it from claiming another home – his own. “The fire spread to the ceiling. I had to get out once pieces of it started to fall. Luckily this is a wall house which is probably the only reason the fire didn’t come down and destroy it,” Maloney said.

Some people may think of Maloney as a hero for doing what he did, but he said he simply did what he had to. “It’s not a matter of being a hero; I was just looking to get my family out. I’m just glad they are safe because it could have been worse,” he said.

Most of his home escaped damage, but it was at the moment uninhabitable which is why his grandmother now stays with neighbours and why he moved into his girlfriend’s house in Grazettes.

“People think because this is a wall house then there is no damage, but we can’t live here as it is right now. Plus, my grandmother needs to keep mobile because of her knees; next door she can’t,” Maloney said.

The artist is thankful to the people in the community who helped him in removing hisgrandmother’s belongings from the house that day, as well as to Member of Parliament Steve Blackett, who helped clean the house out and is arranging for a new paint job.

Pearl Holder in turn is thankful to her grandson, whom she calls her “right-hand man”, for all he has done. Maloney says his next step is to find a new home, and he is hoping his application to the National Housing Corporation, which he made long before the fire, comes through soon.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Nurse Proceeds On Pre-Retirement Leave

Fire Drill

It’s not every day that children get the first-hand experience of feeling like a fire officer.

And yesterday these three, under the watchful eye of Fire Officer 311 Reshelle Griffith, were fascinated when they felt the power of the water hose, at the Arch Hall Fire Station.

The three, who held fast as they tried to control the hose, were among the group of 26 trainees, in the Junior Fire Cadet Programme, who are undergoing rigorous training and discipline in a number of areas.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Fire Service Versus Wotton (Day 1)

BCA Intermediate Division: - Zone A

Barbados Fire Service versus Wotton at Passage Road. (Summarised scores & results)

Wotton 118 (Keith Seale 61, J. Sealy 22, J. Browne 17; P. Smith 4-22, Lonsdale Blake 4-43).

BFS 18-5 (Patrick Smith 10; M. Seale 3-14; K. Seale 2-0).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Woman Dies As A Result Of Accident

Fire Officers from Fire Service Headquarters responded to a two car collision on the Spring Garden Highway at approximately 1:45 a.m. this morning. The motor vehicle accident resulted in one fatality (female) and both vehicles receiving extensive damage.

Two fire tenders from Probyn Street under the command of Divisional Officer Lloydson Phillips and acting Station Officer Gabriel Nurse attended the scene. The jaws-of-life was required to extricate persons from the badly damaged vehicles.

Fire Service Draws Match Against Wanderers

BCA Intermediate Division: - Zone A

Barbados Fire Service draws match against Wanderers at Dayrell's Road. (Summarised scores & results)

Wanderers 221 all out (Gavin Beresford 70, W. Clarke 36, G. Grimes 34, D. Walrond 22, S. Pinder 20 not out; Brian Shepherd 4-44).

BFS 294 all out (Leon Waithe 78 not out, Michael Dunner 56, Lonsdale Blake 38, Patrick Smith 34, Anthony King snr 19, Jason Codrington 15).

Points: BFS 3, Wanderers 1.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ten Injured In Christ Church Accident

Ten people were injured in a two-vehicle accident at Thornbury Hill, Christ Church, yesterday.

The accident, which occurred around 3 p.m., involved a Transport Board bus driven by Theophilus Belgrave of Cottage Vale, St Philip, and a private motor car driven by Trevor Small of Bawdens, St Andrew. The bus ended up on top of the car, crushing it and causing extensive damage.

Fire officials were summoned to the scene of the accident and used the “jaws of life” to free Small. Six of the ten passengers were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment, and the other four were taken to Randall Phillips Polyclinic in Oistins.

Reports are that the bus was travelling in the direction of Bridgetown on Callenders Road when it came into contact with the car, which was exiting Lloyd’s Court, the gap on the right, on to Callenders. Both vehicles ended up a few metres from a house on the left-hand side of the road. (GS)


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Get To Know The Act

An officer with the Barbados Fire Service is urging business places to get au fait with all aspects of the Health and Safety at Work Act and not to wait until it officially becomes law to start to get systems in place.

The suggestion is coming from Sub Officer Errol Maynard, who noted that there are a number of business persons who do not know of the Act and what will be required of them once it becomes law. His comments came yesterday morning as he spoke at a Fire Safety Symposium at the Tamarind Cove Hotel, which was hosted by the St. James Central District Emergency Organisation and the Holetown Strategic Emergency Planning Committee. Maynard was at the time going through sections of the new act which speak to fire safety and what requirements businesses have to meet in that respect.

Addressing the gathering, made up primarily of managers, supervisors and health and safety officers within the private sector, the Sub Officer reminded them that it is their responsibility to ensure that they know the law and adhere to it, as under the new act, if it is proven that a business place was negligent in meeting requirements, they could face a fine or worse, a period of time in jail.

“It would be good if businesses start to put things in place progressively so that when the act is proclaimed by the Governor General, they would not be rushing to get up to speed. It would also help to take some of the pressure off of the Fire Service as well, we do not want everyone to wait until the last minute to try to get things done, because it will stretch our resources as we try to issue certificates,” he said.

Maynard added that it is also imperative that places of employment have warning systems in place, both audible and visual, to alert people in the event that there is a fire. Smoke detectors and fire alarm systems, he said, need not only to be installed, but checked every three months to ensure they are working properly. Additionally, he said that exits should be properly identified and clearly visible at all times. Those in the habit, he said, of packing filing cabinets and boxes in corridors and blocking such exits should cease and desist with that practice as soon as possible, as it could present a dangerous situation if there is need for an emergency evacuation of persons.

Meanwhile, he said that while there are a number of businesses that are being proactive and have been putting fire fighting equipment in place, many are not training employees to use that equipment.

“Too often you go into an establishment and persons do not know how to use the equipment, but the act will require that people are trained how to use the equipment,” he said. (JRT)


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Derelict House At Dalkeith Destroyed By Fire

A derelict house at Dalkeith Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael went up in flames during the early hours of this morning. One timber building was completely destroyed by the fire, which occurred at approximately 5:00 a.m.

Two fire tenders from Fire Service Headquarters under the command of Station Officer Evans Morris responded to the blaze. The number of house fires continue to be of concern to the Barbados Fire Service.

ZR Driver, Two Passengers Hurt

A ZR driver had to be freed from his vehicle and taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) after a collision with a ten-wheeler sewage truck in Haynesville, St James, yesterday afternoon. Andy Lowe, 31, of Dover Crescent, Cave Hill, St Michael, was trapped in his vehicle and had to be rescued by the Barbados Fire Service.

The collision happened at the intersection in front of the Melbourne Cricket Ground just after 1 p.m. Lowe had injuries to his chest, neck and legs, while two of the six passengers, Waveney Dixon, of Checker Hall, St Lucy, and Janette Louis, of Simmons Land, Rendezvous, Christ Church, complained of pains.

Louis, 42, had bruises to her legs, hand, and some bleeding from the mouth, while Dixon pointed to a gash on her shin. The truck, belonging to the National Housing Corporation, was driven by Mitchell Hinds, of 5A Field Road, Wildey, St Michael. He and colleagues Ronald Price and Anthony Flatts escaped without injury. (MK)