Several businesses were destroyed and over 20 families displaced or left homeless following an early morning fire that tore through parts of downtown San Pedro between Pescador and Barrier Reef Drives. The damage is estimated to be in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The fire, we are told, started in an abandoned building and quickly spread to adjacent buildings that were clustered together. Members of the community were quick to assist in dowsing the flames with water by means of a “bucket brigade”. Those efforts would prove hopeless as the intense heat emitted by the early morning blaze warded them off. Fire officials say the blaze quickly got out of control. We spoke to business man Santos Acosta, who told us that the Fire Department could have been more effective if they had reliable equipment. He told us of the harrowing experience of witnessing the blaze.
Santos Acosta, Business Man
“I was taking a shower around 1:00am and when I came out I smelt something burning. I decided to investigate so I went out to the street and I saw that the fire truck was already there. The fire started from a little house in the back. In San Pedro when there is a fire everyone acts and we are like volunteers on standby. I decided to get in and the truck was pumping water at that time. Unfortunately, about 10-15 minutes the water went off and it looks like they were having difficulty connecting to the hydrant. They tried to run the hoses to the sea and that took an hour. By then the fire was right in front of my residence. The equipment that the fire men have does not work, which has been proven in the past and that’s what caused all of this. Its poor equipment that the fire men have.”
Area Representative, Honorable Manuel Heredia Junior, was onsite since early this morning; he gave us a preliminary assessment of the damage and of relief efforts that are underway.
Hon. Manuel Heredia, Area Representative
“There are 6 buildings that were partially destroyed and 27 families affected. Unfortunately, most of them were not insured. To my knowledge it was only two of the buildings that were insured but none the less the response of the people has been magnificent. We met early this morning with NEMO San Pedro to analyze and assess the damages. NEMO is preparing and will be sending packages to the victims but until then Lions Club San Pedro will be assisting the victims with food and shelter. We are hoping that by tomorrow there is a Radioton to help us get started. I appreciate the cooperation of the public. There were hundreds of people rendering assistance. I think that even though this was a big loss it could have been a lot worst if we didn’t have this kind of cooperation.”
Leading the charge in the relief efforts for the victims of this morning’s fire is the National Emergency Management Organization and the San Pedro Branch of the Lions Club. Once again, the unofficial amount families affected is 21 and the unofficial amount of persons affected is 88.