Community Services Building Damaged in Fire
Bermuda’s Adventists weigh recovery after blaze.
BY SHEILA HOLDER AND PETE SAUNDERS, Bermuda Conference, writing from Hamilton, Bermuda
ire has extensively damaged the Bermuda Conference Community Services Center, operated by Seventh-day Adventists on this Atlantic island. Smoke was already billowing out of the building when an off duty firefighter sounded the alarm. No injuries were reported.
At 6:19 p.m. on September 21, 2009, the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service received a report of a structural fire at the site of the Adventist Community Services Center. Within seven minutes of receiving the initial call, firefighters were met with a fully developed fire. Passers-by tried to stem the blaze while waiting for firefighters to arrive.
[Photo: Bermuda Conference]
Lt. Dana Lovell, Hamilton, Bermuda, Fire Station commander, said, "Our firefighters were met with a fully developed fire located on the covered porch of the two storey Bermuda stone structure. Firefighters were initially advised by bystanders that there was a strong possibility that a person may have been trapped somewhere within the building. With this new information, our firefighters went into an offensive fire fighting mode and carried out a primary search of the building which revealed that the building was clear of casualties."
The fire was brought under control by firefighters at 6:51 p.m. The fire was confined to the porch enclosure and its contents - mainly clothing. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, although media reports in The Royal Gazette noted claims of “a woman smoking” a cigarette as a possible cause.
Lois Tucker, Bermuda Institute principal and a few teachers were the ones who initially sounded the alarm from the school, which is adjacent to the centre. Shortly after, the James Water Service, operated by a Bermuda Institute alumnus, arrived and began attempting to extinguish the fire.
Also present to provide assistance were Burnedette DeSilva, director of the Community Services Center and several volunteers, who were already making plans for a speedy clean up.
The Bermuda Conference Community Services Center was established in 1977 and distributes clothing and performs various other services across the island. About 15 persons visit the site daily during the week, and this number doubles on Sundays.