Pictured is the burnt out shell of the Government’s administrative complex in the aftermath of a fire that gutted the building July 2. The structure housed the Post office, the Magistrates' Court, the Local Government District Council and the Town Hall. (BIS Photo)
UPPER BOGUE, NORTH ELEUTHERA, Bahamas -- Minister
of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government the Hon. V. Alfred Gray visited the site of the Local Government complex
in Upper Bogue, North Eleuthera, which also housed the Central Government’s
local office that was destroyed by a fire, Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
Annamae Davis, a janitress at the office complex was the first to
alert persons of the fire around 11:05 a.m.
Minister Gray said, “I want to say how grateful I am to God that
nobody that worked in this building got hurt.
“I am told that temperatures reached up to 1200 degrees and that’s
very high, and that is my first thing to thank God for allowing everybody
to come out well.”
However, the Minister noted that quite a bit was lost including financial
“There are two safes in the building and the police will take them
out as soon as the building cools down to see what was in them were
saved, but there was no records to which we could refer because all
of them were destroyed.”
He explained that the Post Office and the Magistrates' Court were
also housed in the complex, but the documents for the Magistrates' Court
were not kept in the building so those were not destroyed in the fire.
Assessing the fire damage at the scene are from left: Jolton Johnson, Family Island Administrator for the district of North Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells; the Hon. V. Alfred Gray, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government and the Hon. Damien Gomez, State Minister for Legal Affairs and the Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera. (BIS Photo)
Minister Gray said, “I am sure that if I told you that the Government
intends to rebuild this building in the shortest possible time that
would be correct.”
He said he is going to report the findings to the Cabinet and seek
their approval to begin reconstruction within the next several weeks.
“I feel sure that by the end of the year, a new building will either
be completed or well on its way to replacing this building now.”
The Minister thanked the fire department and the police for their
quick response so that other buildings surrounding the complex were
not damaged. He also thanked the public because they also tried
to help save documents but the fire spread rapidly.
Supt. Walter Evans, Officer-in-Charge of the Fire Services Department
said it was too early to draw a conclusion as to the cause of the fire,
and officers were still in the process of investigating. However, they
are not ruling out that the possible cause may be an electrical short
circuit within the facility.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal
Affairs and MP for Central and South Eleuthera the Hon. Damien Gomez
and District Administrator for North Eleuthera including Harbour Island
Wells, Jolton Johnson, were also at the site.
Mr. Johnson said although no one was seriously hurt in the fire, one
employee was airlifted to Nassau for smoke inhalation.