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Dec 12, 2017

In the City, Family Surprised by Early Morning Gas Tank Blowout

In the city…a fire, this morning at an apartment complex on Iguana Street gave way to an explosion that rocked the community. As a loud bang was heard and plumes of smoke were seen, neighbors rushed out of their homes and unto the street. A family of five had completed their routine morning devotion when they were alerted that a fire had erupted in their small kitchen which caused a gas tank to blow up. Fortunately, family members managed to get out of their burning home without incident. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A devout, Pentecostal family is lucky to have escaped serious injuries this morning when the apartment they were occupying on Iguana Street caught fire.  Amos and Juliet John, along with their three children, had just concluded a short prayer service at home and were about to have breakfast when the stove and gas tank ignited.  The sudden blaze inside the small kitchen would ultimately result in a blast that rocked the neighborhood.  The cylinder of butane gas had exploded violently, sending flames and smoke several feet into the air.


Voice of Juliet John, Fire Victim

“We had a devotion this morning and afterwards I went to the kitchen to put on some water and left the kitchen and the biggest baby came to say, “Mommy, there’s fire in the kitchen!”  And we ran there and indeed there was fire and we had to call 911.”


While waiting for emergency response, both parents quickly evacuated their kids, the fire raging at the rear of the complex.


Voice of Juliet John

“As we went into the kitchen and we saw the fire, the first thing that came to mind was safety.  We reached for the key and opened the door because we had to go through the burglar gate and thing and everybody went outside.  My husband went back in to get some of our documents and we were waiting for the fire machine to come.  While we were waiting I guess some people, they were all trying to, you know, do what they could do with the water before the fire machine came to help us.”


Inside the adjoining apartment at the time of the incident was off-duty officer Cristino Chun.


Cristino Chun

Cristino Chun, Neighbor

“I was in the complex when I heard a loud noise, I heard a bang and some people outside di seh dat fire, fire and when I come out then I saw smoke coming out of the apartment.  I heard a loud noise then I come out because I noh wahn stay een deh because I hear fyah.  So I noh wahn get bun up so that’s why I come out.”


And while he too stood out on the side of the street along with spectators who had since gathered, the fire department quickly sprang into action.  According to Fire Chief Ted Smith, the call came in shortly after ten o’clock.


Ted Smith

Ted Smith, Fire Chief

“We received and responded to a structural fire on Iguana Street.  On arrival we found number sixteen, at the northeastern portion of number sixteen Iguana Street on fire.  The department immediately went into operation, contained and extinguished the fire.  Preliminary investigation revealed so far that the occupier of the structure was using the stove.  Shortly after he lit the stove, fire was seen in the back room, west of the kitchen, the area that the fuel tank, the LPG tank was kept.  And the fire spread from there throughout the rest of the kitchen.”


Isani Cayetano

“What are the extent of the damages, either by the fire itself or by water?”


Ted Smith

“The extent of the fire damage is primarily confined to the kitchen area and the eve, the northern eve of the upper flat of the structure.  That is where the fire damage is confined.  There are soot damages that move around in the room, from the part of the apartment complex that he occupied.  This structure is a two-storey concrete and a small portion of it is wooden, in what we would consider the store or laundry room area where he kept his butane tank.”


As with most house fires, the victims say that quicker response could have prevented the explosion because it was not instant.  Of note is that a fire station is less than two blocks away on Dolphin Street.


Voice of Juliet John

“It wasn’t immediate.  It took close to like ten to fifteen or twenty minutes.  It wasn’t an immediate thing.  If the fire engine reached on time I think we would have salvaged [more].  But they did good, looking at the extent [of damages] I applaud them.”


Isani Cayetano

“Give us an idea of the assessment that you’ve made so far.  I know earlier you were waiting to go in to look at the damages firsthand.  What damages have your property sustained?”


Voice of Juliet John

“Basically to me, the damages would be just the kitchen side and the extension to the kitchen.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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