3 fires keep firemen busy in Tobago


DESTROYED: The gazebo at the center of the Botanic Gardens, Scarborough, Tobago, was burnt to the ground on Wednesday night. Photo by David Reid –

FIRE and police are investigating three fires which happened at separate locations in Tobago on Wednesday night.

Divisional fire officer David Thomas told Newsday the damage to the structures at Bushe Trace, Black Rock; the Botanic Gardens, Northside Road, and Sangster’s Hill, both in Scarborough, have a combined value of approximately $1.4 million.

Thomas said fire officers responded to a call about the Black Rock fire around 6.14 pm. He said the single storey dwelling house, jointly owned by Curtis and Kerry George, was almost completely destroyed.

Damage was put at $499,000. He said authorities suspect the fire started in a bedroom.

“But we do not have anything concrete at this time,’ he said.

Thomas said the gazeebo in the Botanic Gardens was almost completely destroyed and damage was estimated at $360,000. The gazeebo was owned by the Tobago House of Assembly.

He said they are yet to determine a cause of that fire.

Thomas also said the storage facility at Sangster’s Hill was 95 per cent destroyed. He estimated damage to be about $540,000. Scarborough police are also investigating.

On the Sangster’s Hill fire, Thomas said the point origin was a storage room on the northern side of the building. He said the fire quickly spread to the rest of the structure.

“But due to the extent of burning, there was hardly anything left for us to draw a definitive conclusion. What we can say, based on how the building is set up, is that there was nobody there at the time and there was no other ignition source.

“So whatever caused that fire to start in that particular area might have been induced.”

He said they will not be able to unearth evidence to say what was the ignition source.

He said the building should have been inaccessible and unoccupied at the time. That fire has been characterised as undetermined while investigations at the Botanic Gardens are ongoing.

Newsday was told in the Black Rock fire, there was a person of interest investigators needed to talk to.

Thomas said the only occupant at the time, Kenny George, 66, went into his brother’s bedroom and saw the bed was engulfed in flames.

Kenny George – David Reid

Kenny George, 66, said he was cooking when he learned a portion of the house was on fire.

“I hear somebody calling out ‘Curtis, Curtis’ and I look out through the back door and the person say to me, ‘Kenny, the house on fire.'” Kenny, a security guard at the St Patrick’s Anglican primary school, said he ran to his brother’s room and the bed was on fire.

He said not long after, the entire roof was on fire.

“It started to spread, but it so happen the fire service reach on time.”

Kenny said a large portion of the house, including the living room, was destroyed.

Thomas said investigators are looking at all the possible patterns in relation to the fires at Sangster’s Hill and the Botanic Gardens.

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