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Jan 29, 2009

Explosion at Tourism Village injures one

An explosion sent various persons scurrying at the Fort Street Tourism Village late this evening. A young boatman was injured at the docking port of terminal four while workers at the village were left looking for cover. According to eyewitnesses, a boat engine was running while it was being fueled at the pump. Fumes ignited almost instantly and caused the first explosion that flung the boat’s captain about ten feet in the air along with the boat’s console. The shockwave was strong enough to knock passengers from a neighbouring boat into the water. Seconds later another blast occurred but this time with flames. That explosion shook bystanders from awe to fear and they fled the scene. The boat’s captain, Shawn Rosado, was unconscious and suffered abrasion and injuries to one of his leg. Fire-fighters and the ambulance service quickly arrived and Rosado was transported to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Crew members and staff automatically went into action and according to Operations Manager for the Tourism Village, James Nisbet, the terminal was closed and tourists were not around.

James Nisbet, Operations Manager, Fort Street Tourism Village
“At approximately about four-twenty we had a call from the security on the dock saying that there’s some kind of problem at the fuel station. We came over and we saw what looked like smoke but we further learned that it was fire extinguishers that were being used. I believe it’s a water taxi vessel that had completed refueling since the terminal was closed. The particular ship that was using the terminal had already left and that is when we allow refueling to commence. These boats are preparing for tomorrow. We understand—and it is still unconfirmed—that the boat had completed refueling and it was on its way to move off. The captain turned his key and there was a spark from somewhere under the console and that ignited some vapors, fuel vapors we’re guessing, and caused some kind of combustion. It did not necessarily explode but it ripped the center console off the boat. In the process the captain was thrown from the boat and he has been taken to the hospital to get properly evaluated. Other than that there was nobody else that got hurt, there were no tourists around. The terminal was closed and it was handled very professionally by the attendant, which they had to be trained for dealing with fuel. The kill switch was activated, the fire extinguishers were brought out and everything was doused out. The flames lasted a couple seconds and it was gone noh. So we were very happy that nobody got seriously injured. We hope, I think his name is Mr. Rosado, is back on his feet.”

Rosado is still receiving treatment at the K.H.M.H. The boat that caught fire belonged to Fab Tours, a member of the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association. The Belize Port Authority is investigating this incident.

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