St. Eustatius Tourist Office severely damaged by fire

   St. Eustatius Tourist Office  severely damaged by fire

A firefighter using special equipment to check the condition of the fire. 

 

ST. EUSTATIUS--A huge fire of unknown origin ravaged the Godet House which houses St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF) in St. Eustatius on Friday.

  Quick action by the fire department managed to contain the blaze, but not before it consumed the building, which suffered severe damage.

  The Godet House was a historical monument on Kerkweg. The Tourist Office has been closed since Wednesday, May 20, due to the Ascension Day holiday and the civil servants’ holiday on Friday. The building was a wooden structure, as are many of the buildings in the surrounding area.

  The police received notification about the fire around 4:30pm Friday. Caribbean Netherlands Fire Department KPCN St. Eustatius branch firefighters and the Global Terminal Investments (GTI) Statia water truck rushed to the scene to put out the fire. In total, there were three fire trucks and one water truck at the scene.  

  Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN and Royal Netherlands Marechaussee officers were on hand to cordon off the street. St. Eustatius utility company Stuco linemen ensured that electricity to the building was disconnected and safety measures were place.

  A crowd gathered to witness the fire. Many spoke about the building’s historical significance and many snapped pictures and recorded videos of the incident, expressing hope that the building could be saved. 

  As of 8:45pm the fire was contained, but still burning.

  Fire Chief Andre Bennett, the GTI Statia Emergency response team, Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij and Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis were at the scene, as the Godet House is a government-owned building, along with Stuco water plant and power plant Head of Production Irvin Jack.

  Van Rij said he could not say much at the time because the police and Fire Departments had to carry out their investigation. however, he said, “It is a really sad day for Statia, because the Godet House is a really beautiful monument that is in the centre of town.”

  He said that thankfully no one had been hurt because of the fire. A meeting will be held today, Saturday, with Bennett and police to discuss the findings of the cause of the fire.

  In an unrelated matter, two men were arrested on Wednesday, May 20, on suspicion of theft. The men in question were workers from AcrobatX who oversaw the cliff re-stabilisation project to protect Historical Fort Oranje. The two men are still in police custody.