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Fire sparks plea for disaster planning

The investigation into last month's fire on Front Street has entered its second phase, with the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service beginning to analyse materials recovered from the scene.

A service spokesman said phase two was under way last week with site visits to collect samples.

Witnesses to the blaze are also now being interviewed.

John Wight, the president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said the fire should prompt business owners to question whether their disaster recovery plans were in order.

He told The Royal Gazette: “The fire highlighted for many businesses, whether retail or not, how important it is to plan for an event such as this, however unlikely they are.

“Owners of businesses in Bermuda should be asking themselves, what would happen to my business if a similar tragedy struck? While fires are rare in Bermuda, principally due to the construction materials used to build our homes and commercial buildings, the fact remains that they do occur and can cause tremendous and sometimes fatal consequences to a business.

“In addition, over the past 15 years in Bermuda there have been similar events such as hurricanes and prolonged power outages that had similar but less severe consequences to a business.”

Speaking on how businesses were affected in the aftermath of the fire, Mr Wight added: “Businesses on Front and Reid Streets were affected differently following the Hamilton fire.

“For some businesses, access to their offices was restricted on the day of the fire while the fire service did its job putting the fire out, and they were back in business the following morning.

“For certain other businesses that had fire and smoke damage, it may be several weeks before they can return to their premises and for others the damage was catastrophic and their futures uncertain.”

Front Street fire: the inquiry into last month's blaze has entered its second phase (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 06, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 05, 2016 at 11:56 pm)

Fire sparks plea for disaster planning

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