November 26, 2009
THE fire that ripped through Nygard Cay causing multi-million dollar destruction was accidental and probably sparked by an electrical short-circuit, investigators have concluded.
Jeffery Deleveaux, the superintendent in charge of Fire Services, said non-definitive evidence shows the blaze was ignited by an electrical fault near the dance floor's Sunshine Bar in the southwest area of the six-acre property.
Roaring flames engulfed the wood and thatch building just before 4am on Wednesday, November 11, and three crews of firefighters fought the blaze with 11 fire engines throughout the morning. Their efforts continued 32 hours later as they battled to extinguish the burning embers.
Property owner, Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, was out of the country at the time and no-one was injured in the blaze.
Fire investigators' findings contradict the original impressions expressed by Supt Deleveaux in the wake of the blaze.
Supt Deleveaux had ruled out electrical problems as a potential cause of the fire and said it was likely to have started in the northeast section of the resort before quickly spreading to the southwest area.
The extensive destruction made it difficult to determine the location and the reason for the start of the fire, Supt Deleveaux said.
"Everything was in flames, it was burnt right out," he explained.
"But we found it started inside, in the area of the bar, and the evidence on the electrical wire tells us that it was shorted out.
"In the conclusion of the investigation we found the fire was an accidental fire, and it could have been caused by an electrical fault, but that is not definitive.
"However, all the indicators are that it was electrical."
Supt Deleveaux said concrete, wire mesh and steel used in construction prevented the fire from spreading throughout the extensive property tucked away in a corner of the exclusive Lyford Cay gated community in north western New Providence, although it caused millions of dollars worth of damage.
Mr Nygard built Nygard Cay as a Robinson Crusoe-style adult playground in 1987, with 22 seculded cabanas, Mayan-style temples, interconnecting swimming pools, beaches, tennis and volleyball courts, and a state-of-the-art home theatre.
The multi-millionaire owner recently revealed he had plans to expand the resort by building a suspended cable bedroom that lowers into the ocean, a dolphin interaction attraction, and a programme allowing guests to visit the property's $2 million shark tank.
The fire came days after Mr Nygard celebrated the opening of his flagship store in Times Square, New York City.
By MEGAN REYNOLDS
Tribune Staff Reporter
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News date : 11/26/2009