Several families were left homeless on the weekend after their homes were destroyed in blazes that are under investigation by the Fire Department.
On Saturday, March 26, there was an early-afternoon fire in the Booby Alley area of The Point, at a location that borders Mariners Lane.
Two wooden structures, which reportedly were unoccupied and abandoned, went up in flames. The buildings were adjacent to the Bethel Anglican Church and in very close proximity to houses that are occupied.
Fortunately for those residents, the fire did not spread, despite the very strong windy conditions the country has been experiencing for weeks.
Meanwhile, hours later that afternoon, 10 people, including young children, lost their homes in a fire that gutted two adjacent houses in Swetes Village.
Reportedly, a wooden house was completely destroyed, while the neighbouring concrete building was extensively damaged.
There were no injuries or casualties reported, but the affected families reportedly were unable to salvage anything from their homes.
In both cases on Saturday, private water trucks had to be deployed to help firefighters, as has been the case since last year.
The fire in The Point was the third since March 10, when a massive blaze destroyed four homes and badly damaged two others on St. George Street, leaving 11 people homeless.
Then, on March 15, there was another fire in Booby Alley, which reportedly began in the kitchen of an abandoned house.
That blaze was quickly extinguished due to the prompt action of residents, who hauled buckets of water before the fire truck arrived on the scene.
Last Wednesday, March 23, the Executive pledged to purchase four additional fire tenders. These are scheduled to arrive here in a few weeks and will assist the Fire Department in carrying out its duties more efficiently, the Cabinet Notes said.
In the meantime, the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) is expected to assist in repairing tenders that are down with mechanical challenges. The single tender stationed at St. John’s reportedly has issues with its brakes among other problems.
The Cabinet also took the decision to purchase two new ambulances to increase the fleet available to the Emergency Medical Services.