Antigua has experienced a record number of fires during the month of April, the highest for any one month, fire officials have said.
A total of 23 fires were reported during the period of April 2-23, the majority being house fires.
Fire Chief Elvis Weaver says negligence can be blamed for some of the recent fires. He says despite his unit continued efforts to raise awareness there are still fires caused by carelessness.
“A couple of the fires have been started by carelessness even though we continue to educate the public on fire prevention. We are still discovering that people are still very careless. Children are still playing machines and lighters and those kinds of things.”
To help tackle the surge in fires, a rigid fire safety and prevention campaign will be mounted by the fire unit, this, Weaver hopes can curb the number of fires reported.
“We will be embarking on rigid fire safety and prevention drive into the communities and some of the topics they would be dealing with are children fire safety, home cooking fire safety, electrical fire safety, bush fire safety and general fire safety prevention.”
Weaver says the communities most likely to be affected would be first to be visited by the department. A factor in this decision is the close proximity of the houses in those companies. Some of those communities were listed by the fire chief,
“We would be targeting a lot communities that prone to fire like Golden Grove area, Hatton, Point and Villa. These are the area where the houses are very close; so these are the areas the fire prevention would be targeting.”
A pan yard, horse stable fire, a number of residential homes were either totally destroyed or partially destroyed in the recent fires.
The charred remains of a man were discovered after an abandoned house frequented by a homeless man was consumed by a blaze.
Fire and police officials are continuing their investigations in the fires.