Firefighters called to fire at Church Street building
A short-lived blaze broke out yesterday at a building on Church Street, prompting several businesses to evacuate – including a neighbouring department store.
Smoke billowing from windows at the Pickle Barrel Building at 26 Church Street was reported to the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service shortly after 8.30am.
Six firefighters with breathing apparatus attended the three-storey building across from City Hall and the bus terminal, where a BFRS spokesman said they encountered and “quickly extinguished” a fire on the first floor.
No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire was said by the BFRS to be under investigation.
Gibbons Company department store, in the adjoining building, opted to evacuate before the start of business until the fire crew gave the all-clear.
Pickle Barrel, one of the city’s older buildings east of Washington Mall, is home to small shops as well as the offices of lawyer Christopher E Swan.
The building’s owner, David White, was off the island and unavailable for comment.
A member of staff at the Island Sole shoe store said businesses took no chances, with memories still fresh of the July 2016 inferno that quickly consumed businesses in an older building on Front Street.
“Our alarms were going off,” a clerk at the store said. “Gibbons Company and a few stores evacuated – if this building burnt they would go like dominoes.”
The establishment was left with a smell of smoke.
A member of staff at nearby Demco to Go florists said phone videos appeared to show a small fire breaking through from within a ceiling up in the first floor.
He said businesses had heard unofficially that there was no serious damage.
The building, which has been host to a string of businesses over its history, had a narrow escape from a blaze shortly before Christmas 2007, when it housed AS Cooper's home furnishings store.