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Straw Market Fire
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On Tuesday 4th September 2001 at about 3:00pm, a fire was started by a man with dreadlocks, who threw a substance from a bag he carried, which exploded into flames and quickly engulfed souvenirs and clothing that that was sold by Straw Vendors. This fire was so ferocious that if destroyed most of the inventory of some six hundred Vendors.

It was not long after the fire had started, that the fire engines from the Royal Bahamas Police Force arrived, and began to fight this massive fire. They were later assisted with fire truck from the Airport Fire Service and with water pump from the Defence Force who began pumping water from the sea, because the water hydrants on Bay Street had already been pumped dry.

This fire was huge, it lasted for about twelve hours, and the destruction was enormous. Many of our most picturesque building, of the colonial period, will be seen no more. the flames from this fire could be seen for miles in all direction, and from my vantage point, I could see flames and white smoke billowing out of the cracks of a building floating in the breeze skyward.

As dusk drew near, the stench of smoke was everywhere, and I could hear the crackling of wood, as they lost their strength to the ravages of the fire. Sparks were flying everywhere in the wind. This was terrible weather to fight a fire and the firemen knew it. This fire was violent and would not relinquished it's hold, but the firemen fought on.

As I continued to look at this massive blaze, employee and Police Officers raced to save the National Treasures at the Pompey Museum. I could see the roofs and column of these building falling in on themselves, thus providing an artificial display of fire works. The sparks and embers moved by a constant flow of powerful breeze to the adjourning building. This caused a group of firemen to soak all adjourning building with water, to prevent them from catching fire.

I soon realized that the firemen and everyone around knew that the best course of action was to prevent this fire from spreading any further down Bay Street. But as for the buildings that were already engulfed, they will let them burn out. There was nothing else that could be done to save them.

When the fire was finally extinguished, all that could be seen were the skeleton of those once magnificent building, their blackened cracked wall. It reminded me of a story of the emperor with no cloth, they appeared naked and an eyesore to look at.

The fire destroyed the Ministry of Tourism Building, Straw Market, Chipman Souvenir, Pompey Museum, and Colony Place. Several building including Beaumont House receive extensive damages. Several stores on the opposite side of the street suffered broken windows, water and smoke damage.


Street Talk

How sad the destruction, and a rebuild old building is never the same.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Dear Rob, I am sorry I didn't contact you earlier, I was very busy. I am preparing another article on the arsonist that burn down the straw market.. Thank you very much for your comment.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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