A fire caused major damage to a home in the Frenchtown community Friday afternoon, but no civilians were injured in the blaze, the V.I. Fire Service announced.
According to the VIFS news release, at approximately 2:24 p.m., Friday, Oct. 15, units from the Omar Brown Sr. Fire Station at Barbel Plaza were dispatched to a reported structure fire with possible entrapments in the Frenchtown community. Additional reports to the 911 call center supported and confirmed the initial call of a fire, escalating it to a three-alarm fire.
Units and personnel from the Emile Berry Fire Station in Dorothea, Fortuna Fire Station and George Scott Fire Station in Tutu were also dispatched to assist with the response, the Fire Service reported. At the scene, firefighters found a three-story wood and masonry dwelling with fire and smoke coming from the doors and windows of the top and middle floors. Firefighting units were positioned on the western, northern and southern sides, with two one-and-a-half-inch quick-attack lines deployed from each side.
According to VIFS, because all occupants of the building were safe and accounted for the priority of the operations shifted to a defensive posture, protecting the surrounding houses from possible damage.
On- and off-duty firefighters, Fire Service retirees, members of the community, St. Thomas Rescue and VIPD worked feverishly to contain the fire to its footprint, the fire service said.
Approximately two hours after firefighting operations commenced, the fire was brought under control. Hot spots were identified and extinguished. Five fire personnel were treated for dehydration and exhaustion, but there were no civilian injuries. The first and second floors of the structure sustained major damage, and all occupants were displaced.
The Fire Service’s Arson Prevention and Investigation Unit was dispatched to the scene and has begun investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
“Once again, I cannot thank the brave women and men of the V.I. Fire Service enough for their continued hard work in protecting the Virgin Islands community,” said Fire Chief David Hodge. “I would also like to thank the Frenchtown community for their support during the operations, along with the dispatchers at the 911 call center, Emergency Medical Services, St. Thomas Rescue, the Virgin Islands Police Department, Callwood’s Water Delivery, and the American Red Cross for their assistance with the operations.”
During the blaze, the Water and Power Authority took the electrical feeder serving the area, feeder 6B, offline as a precaution while firefighters battled the Frenchtown fire.