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Freeport International Bazaar catches fire again

The International Bazaar in Freeport was yet again ablaze yesterday, for the third time since November 2021.

The Grand Bahama Port Authority called for demolitions within the structure to continue.

The fire was reported to police around 7 a.m.

Up to press time, it had been contained and was “burning itself out”. No cause has been suggested.

Chief Superintendent Walter Henderson, press officer for Grand Bahama and the Northern Bahamas, explained that the fire raged until late afternoon before finally being contained around 5 p.m.

The Fire Department is expected to conduct an investigation today to determine the cause of the blaze, which appears to have affected large portions of the northwestern side of the bazaar toward the rear. 

Yesterday’s fire was the third at the deteriorating marketplace – which has become an eyesore since 2004, when Grand Bahama was hit by Hurricane Francis and Hurricane Jeanne – since November 2021, when there was a massive fire that practically gutted the bazaar.

That incident was followed just weeks later by another fire in December 2021. The fire yesterday prompted a response from the Grand Bahama Port Authority calling for the continuation of demolition on dilapidated structures within the bazaar.

GBPA President Ian Rolle reiterated that the GBPA continues to engage with operators of the International Bazaar, which include representatives of the Bazaar Association and several property owners, so that demolition exercises on the dilapidated structures and buildings can continue.

“The GBPA is acutely aware of the need to demolish derelict structures within the International Bazaar for the safety of all businesses and visitors,” Rolle said.

“We have performed demolitions in the past at our own cost – most recently in February 2022, when we, in partnership with owners, demolished fire-damaged buildings in the Oriental Section. We have also written to numerous property owners of dilapidated structures over the years to sensitize them to the need to repair or demolish their buildings.”

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