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April 13, 2021

A STRUCTURAL fire at Potter's Cay on Sunday has left six stalls completely burned to the ground and two others with damage.

Two boats were also destroyed.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources Michael Pintard said officials are awaiting a report from Fire Services about the cause of the blaze. 

Mr Pintard expressed his sympathy for the owners and workers of the properties destroyed in the blaze.

“We are going to meet at 11.30 this morning with all of the affected vendors and the staff at the ministry so that we can begin the assessment process of the extent of the damage,” he said yesterday. 

“First of all, I want to express our great regret that this happened to vendors who’ve been going through an extremely difficult time. We’ve had a series of challenges over the last two years. We’ve had unfortunate incidences that have happened here at Potter’s Cay that affected the flow of traffic to support these vendors who support many families over the years and then we had the pandemic and now we have this catastrophic fire.

“Our hearts go out to the vendors and their families who rely on this business. It is incredible the intensity of the fire and you can see by the level of damage that it is going to take a while for a number of these vendors to rebound. What is also true is that the damage to stores, I believe about seven stores, will also affect other vendors and so we are going to move as quickly as we can to ensure that the rebuilding process commences.”

Asked about the government’s plans for rebuilding, Mr Pintard answered: “We’re going to take our time. We’ll do a careful assessment. We’ll hear from the vendors. I will have discussions with my colleagues. I don’t control the purse of The Bahamas…. So we will have a candid discussion and we will do our best to assist, but without question, we’ll assist.”   

Potter’s Cay Dock Fish, Fruit, and Vegetables Vendors Association president Ormanique Bowe said six stalls were burned down while two of them were damaged, but can be repaired. When asked if there was any kind of insurance on the stalls, she answered some vendors had insurance while others do not.

According to police, officers received a report about a structural fire at the dock shortly before midnight on Sunday.

“On the units arrival at the scene, they met several wooden single-storey structures on the eastern side of the dock engulfed in flames,” a police crime report said. “They were able to extinguish the fire. However, several of the structures which housed restaurants and bars were destroyed. As a result of the fire, two boats that were docked at the rear of the structures were also destroyed.” 

Leaston Bannister, a boat owner and captain, has a conch stand in the area. Mr Bannister, who lives on his boat, recalled helping that night.

“After I hear a boom and a pop, I was on my boat and I decide to look out. I see the eastern side of Potter’s Cay dock gush in flames. I had come ashore to assist some people in their boats. So I had to help pull them away from the fire, anchor them, and helped tie them behind my boat. You had two boats which caught (fire). They burned to the waterline and they would’ve sunk.

“The fire engine took a long while. When they came, there wasn’t no water at first. They had to go find hydrants….. You had two persons that was actually in the stall when the fire would’ve started and they got out,” he said. 

Mr Bannister clarified that these people were not trapped in the fire.

Click here to read more at The Tribune

News date : 04/13/2021    Category : Business, Tribune Stories

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