By Elesha George
“Very suspicious” is how Fire Chief Elvis Weaver is describing Monday night’s blaze at Monks Hill.
“We have no idea as to the cause of the fire and it’s very suspicious since it happened at night,” he told Observer.
It is that suspicion which has caused the Fire Chief to warn anyone caught lighting fires without a permit that they will be dealt with severely, as he reminded the public they face a $6,000 fine or six months in prison, or both.
At around 8.50pm on Monday five firefighters from All Saints Fire Station responded to a call about a bush fire in Monks Hill. As they arrived on the scene, they noticed that the terrain was near impassable without help.I
They had to solicit assistance from three officers from the Dockyard Police Station, who transported them to the site by Land Rover, while a pick-up from the Liberta Police Station provided further transport.
Once on site, the officers reported that the late-night blaze had already consumed large portions of the hillside but they had managed to extinguish some of the fire using beaters, while other sections of the area extinguished naturally.
The chief said there was no report of dead animals and the fire had caused no damage to a nearby cell tower or any properties in the area.
He however admonished residents against lighting fires “indiscriminately”.
“Lately, we have been responding to a few bush fires and rubbish fires,” he told Observer.
The latest was on Tuesday morning when a large bush fire was reported at Parham Lodge. A small storeroom about 10ft by 12ft was destroyed. The owner and his son, who lives on the same property, were unharmed.
With the exception of the latest fire, so far for the year, the department has responded to nine fires in St John’s, 27 in All Saints and seven in Point.
One of the Point blazes is currently being probed by CID as law enforcement officers say they have reason to believe that a dispute may have led to the burning.
Sunday’s fire gutted two houses and a business place on St George’s Street in Point, none of which were insured.