UPDATE: Major fire at Coulibistrie

Fire officials had to resort to acquiring water from the sea last night to extinguish a major fire at Coulibistrie, which  has caused damage to three houses.

One wooden house and an upstairs and downstairs concrete house were engulfed in flames.

Chairman of the Coulibistrie Village Council Marilyn James-Pascal said that this was the biggest fire she had ever seen. “I have never seen anything like it,” she remarked at the scene.

The Fire Service of Portsmouth and Roseau were both at the scene of the fire. Fire Chief Josiah Dupuis commended the work of fire officers. He said the men obtained water from the nearby coast to subdue the fire. There is no fire hydrant in the area.

Traffic was congested on the highway, as fire officers occupied the middle of the road to execute their duties. Hundreds of persons gathered to observe the incident.

Utility poles’ wires were down. One eye witness told DNO that she watched the fire significantly destroy one of the houses.

– Staff reporter

Photos compliments Kervin Vidal

[nggallery id=9]

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  1. gen coulibistrie
    March 22, 2010

    hello. dat fire assistance was well on time i find! wen d fire done burn dwn d place they reach watching sayin, wat a fire! aha! callin on Mr. Pm, u nt seein is time we get a lil fire station down west side! dat for u to look into! d whole place wud hav burn if it wasnt the villagers doin a lil water down! AHH AHH AHH!! se comme ca nous tout sey dominican?

  2. Pompei
    March 21, 2010

    This is for Piper< letting you that Gov't don't feed firemen, they feed themselves. St. Joe needs a fire station and also Castle Bruce needs a fire station and these are mandatory that Gov't put these things in place. Over the past ten years gov't have been giving police 35 men ayear and fire service have recieved about 12 men and it is by pieces gov't giving them. Give the fire department men as the police so that they can do their work properly. wat if it was your house piper that burnt in colibistrie, would you say that the fire truck took a long time from roseau to reach there and if they had a station closer that maybe one or two houses could have been saved. the gov't need to recognise the importance of fire officers and provide them with men and equipment and training. I wonder if is after the night landing start if that is when gov't going to start trainging more fire officers. in the fire service there is less than a 100 men in the fire service which is not enough.

  3. Concerned
    March 20, 2010

    My condolences to the families who were affected by the fire..I know the families, so it hurts my heart to hear about such a great tragedy. My prayer are with them.
    I strongly agree that there should be a fire station on the west coast. There was news floating around a few years ago tht there a fire station wold be placed in the community of St Joseph. A building along the highway was selected for this but i guess it is still in the works…
    in a community like St Joseph whenever there is a fire in the community of St Joseph the whole community comes together and forms a “bucket brigade” ,and by the time the fire brigade arrives the fire is already controlled…So we should try working together….

  4. Dubiqois
    March 20, 2010

    Here is a sarcastic/realistic thought: Our 100+ mil refurbished west coast road will help generate revenue to build and maintain fire houses in villages. Property taxes will be imposed on all west coast residents in order to maintain west coast roads, etc…etc…etc. What do you think?

  5. Dubiqois
    March 20, 2010

    Have we thought of fire alarms in people’s homes? That may help mitigate the problem and save lives.

    Kudos to the fire fighters. I am happy that no one was injured or died.

    I agree with Piper. When we build we must maintain. Maintenance cost over a period of time will always be incremental – not the other way around.

    However, there is something to be said about inadequate resources necessary for fire prevention and containment. We are still using 18th century methods to extinguish fire – pumping water from a river. Hydrants are not that costly, and they require very little maintenance. It would be a temporary solution until we can build subsidiary stations across the island. The cost of putting one station in each village is not necessary, because the cost would be prohibitive. In time, we could place them strategically for access to all villages.

  6. rushand
    March 19, 2010

    thank God no lives were lost, and that none will be lost due to fires caused in this dry season’ It is a good idea to insure our homes and business…….hence the need for registering and insururing all business no matter how small.. cause what you got you got already
    cant afford to start from scratch

  7. Maestro279
    March 19, 2010

    hats off to the firemen who worked this fire. It is amazing to see the ingenuity of our fire officers on their job.

  8. Zang
    March 19, 2010

    Garcon think of it… de west coast has the highest number of fires per year. Be it half is bush fire… But man to think that that long stretch doe have one fire thing man…awa.

    Then put hydrants with emergency hoses for people to help themselves if you cannot man a fire station. People of de west coast have to to make some respectable noise…

  9. Out of South City
    March 19, 2010


  10. Piper
    March 19, 2010

    Emotions aside, let’s look at the figures. How many fires have we had on the west coast over the past 10 years? Not many I dare say.
    How much do you think it would cost to build and maintain a fire station in St. Joseph? Let’s say it cost $1,000,000 for land and building. A truck will cost about $250,000. To maintain that will cost at least another $10,000 per year. Training for 6 men will cost about $150,000. Once they are trained, they have to be paid. That will run about $300,000 per year. To feed them while they are on duty will run another $36,000. To maintain the building (phone, lights, other utilities) will run another $50,000.

    In the first year alone, we are looking at about $1,700,000. From the second year it will be about $400,000. I am sure there are other costs I have not captured. With that kind of expendure, it is best to leave well enough alone and give them some help to rebuild their houses. There are just not that many fires in the area, especially given that most of the houses are made from concrete.

    • Kalinago
      March 19, 2010

      Piper you are so right.

      People are commenting that there should be a fire station in every major village on the island. HELLO…..where are we going to get the money from? OK sure, that can be done but the government would have to either raise taxes to maintain these fire station and or ask friendly nations to build them for us.

      If the government raise taxes everybody going bawl bloody murder. If we ask friendly nations for help people are saying we are a begging nation.

      Dominica is a poor, struggling, developing nation struggling to maket ends meet. The country can hardly pay its present civil servants a proper wage.

      While it is nice to look at things through the lens of more developed nations, we also have to contend with reality.

    • The role / importance of a Fire & Ambulance Station to a community
      March 21, 2010

      A fire and ambulance station must function in many capacities. To name a few:

      1. To save lives! Lives can become endangered from many situations. To name a few,
      a. Floods. Many if not all west coast comunities are located along or near to rivers.
      b. Motor accidents! The most important highway streaches along the entire west coast.
      The majority of residients travarse this roadway on a daily basis.
      c. Sea bathing , water sports, fishing. The calmest sea and beaches are located along the
      west coast. Many people take to the beaches, especially on weekends.
      d. Land slides / rock falls. All the west coast comunites are located on hill sides or in near
      proximity to hills and mountains.
      e. Transportation of injured people to the nearest medical facility. An ambulance must be
      able to respond to a call within 10 minutes, based on international regulations. Presently,
      depending on where the caller is located along the west coast, it takes as much as 35 minutes
      to arrive. A life could be lost during this period!

      2. To save property. The west coast or leward side of the Island, is by nature, is the driest side of
      the Island. Concequently, vegetation along the west coast is frequently dried up. Dried vegetation
      ignites quite readily. Once ignited, this vegetation can quickly get out of control, becoming an
      alarming situation. All properties along the west coast are surounded by mainly wild vegetation.

      Here are a few concequencies that property owners are faced with that are as a direct result of limited or non existant fire stations.
      1. Insurance rates become dearer.
      2. Wooden structures, no matter how valuable are dennied insurance coverage!
      3. Development of the west coast is hampered. Financial instutions are always very concerned
      as to what means are available to the borrower, so as to recover their monies, should there be
      some unforseen unplesent situation. Employment growth is directly hindered!
      4. The cost of transportaton of sick and or injured people by private means, is very dear and
      in a significant number of cases, unpayable.

      The importance of a fire and ambulance station to and in a community, significanlty out ways the cost
      of running and maintaining such a service / station. Added, there are many ways to manage such a service / station economically. Here are a few from many suggestions that come to mind:
      a. A rotational volunter watch service can be implemented as is currently and successfully done in
      the out districts of London, England.
      b. Taxes collected from property owners who would now have had the insentive to build and
      develop bigger business, and enterprises along the wast coast could be allocated towards
      maintaining the fire station / service.
      c. Personal income tax collected from the many people who would have now gained employment
      as a direct result of the many business opportunities that would now have been created along
      the west coast.

      I therefore urge you sir, to rethink your position with regards to having a fire station / service located
      along the west coast, preferrably in the St. Joseph health district.

    • Jean Coulibistrie
      March 22, 2010

      What about doubling police stations into police/fire stations? There, 2 firemen/1st aid will be stationed with 1 small fire truck.

  11. D/can to the Bone
    March 19, 2010

    Please place more fire hydrant in those populated area. We also needd a fire Station between Roseau and Portsmouth

  12. Anthony P. Ismael
    March 19, 2010

    How many more properties must be ravaged by fire, before the West Coast receives its own fire station? We’re in 2010 and it’s very sad that certain basic infrastructure is still missing in Dominica. Hopefully, this fire will spur the government to rethink how we respond to emergencies outside the Roseau area.

    • People Power
      March 19, 2010

      A fire station will not stop fire destroying buildings. How far was Karam and Astaphans to the Roseau Fire Station?

  13. wall_e
    March 19, 2010

    Been saying that for a minute now. I guess that wasn’t important. But between the Portsmouth and Roseau. Not one fire station??? Come on now. What if another major fire broke out in the cane-field area at the same time? We in 2010 and DR. Finger, ur right.. We need fire and police personel crossed trained as paramedics together in almost all villages. (or 1 station per every 2 villages). Crime is on the rise in Dominica, we’ve got more cars on our roads… We more prone to accident now than ever before.. get with the times Gov’t.
    I guess we’ve never learned from that plane crash in 1998. 11 people died, some because we had no proper paramedics training… in a national disaster we had a surviving little boy on the back of a pick up truck…..WAITING…. While concerned citizens tried to look for other survivors. That little boy died a few hours later.
    GOD FORBID an American eagle flight fall in Dominica and this is the response we provide… Imagine the backlash and negative publicity we would get from the international community.
    Think about it people…. Also to anyone in position/politician reading this comment!

  14. Proposed 'St. Joseph Fire Station'
    March 19, 2010

    Here are the facts.
    In 2008, the need for a Fire and Ambulance Station in the St. Joseph area was given serious attention. Equipment was secured!
    1. A new Ambulance (Ford left hand drive with orange side strip) was obtained as a gift from the City of Millian, in Italy. Can you remember this Mr. Vince Henderson?
    2. A Fire truck, which is part of the already limited and ageing Fire Appliance fleet was indified to be transfered to the proposed St. Joseph Fire Station. Can you remember this Mr. Cab Sec.?
    3. A property to house this fire station was idintified in the St. Joseph area. Can you remember this Mr. Fire Chief?
    4. This fire station was to have become operational by February / March 2009!

    To date, this new Ambulance is based at the Fire Headquarters, while the ageing Fire truck is parked at the Canefield Airport Fire Base.

    Can the Fire Chief inform the nation as to what may have gone wrong?

  15. The Day Has Come
    March 19, 2010

    Oh my Oh my… I was at homes when i saw the fire trucks rushing from Portsmouth. I was perplexed and hoping it wasn’t a home, but sad to learn that it was actually two homes. Oh My.. I pray no one got hurt and that a relief is set up to help the families seriously affected by this fire. If they don’t have home insurance, it’s gonna be tough, we must pull together to help. I hate to hear of this things, but God is good and he will send help an comfort to those seriously affected by this dreadful fire. God’s strength and peace keep you who are hurting.

  16. msp
    March 19, 2010

    may god be praised for sparing the lives of the victims

  17. Cesare Bonventre
    March 19, 2010

    Are there any possibilities of a serial arsonist in Dominica?

  18. alexanderRamirez
    March 18, 2010

    Dr.Foot you have the skerro mentality man! dependingom gifts. The closing of the red clinic is not obvious to you? International Panhandling is no way to develop a nation. You expect chinese who ever to keep giving and not ask for a big favor in return? like citizensip for 20 000 chinese and the likes? if a drug man feeding your family next thing he will ask for your first daughter poompoom. We will be vex and defiant but you have been playing boster limiing in new SUV eating best cuts from brizzie mart etc. Your daughter is the means to the end. You have no choice Dr.Finger pay back time.
    We are fighting Dr .Sort amongst our selves banning people from pal and enjoy the the gimmics of the courts. while the chinese , venezulans taking over inch by inch by 2017 you will be forced to shine a yellow man shoes.I can imagine dr.Finger shining shoes by four corners.

    • Eric Cartman
      March 19, 2010

      so a story about a fire turn into an attack on skerrit?

      what are your suggestions on a better route for development? people like you are such idiots and clearly biased and uneducated.

      Obviously a country has to seek to stand on its own but then you also have to consider that D/a has very little resources that can bring in substantial income.A prudent foreign policy is the way to go.

      Banana industry is dead, our corals i have come to understand are below average and that’s a niche market anyway.

      d/a will nvr attract large-scale tourism all we have is bush and for ur info there r many other countries with bush out there in the world.we don’t have a monopoly on bush!!

      so mr.ramirez where will the money come from??

      • Ok Then
        March 19, 2010

        I find you well rude for saying all Dominica have is bush and we don’t have anything to offer. We need a proper marketing plan that’s all. Dominica has so many things to offer but Dominicans are just too lazy and dependent on others to give them what they need. It is this nonsense that will cause Dominicans to complain about everything good or bad because they cannot be satisfied. Instead people get off their lazy butts and start building the country they find the time to bring down the prime minister and the entire government. No mater what political party comes in it’s going to be the same thing with Dominicans “complain”.
        The few who are there building the country and reaping the benefits of their hard work Dominicans call down instead of taking example from them. Who work must get paid in some way or the other. Dominicans may say that it’s one set that have everything but when you look at it it’s only one set working.
        I think the government should start investing in what works and that is Agriculture. We can grow so much, why not find a crop we are good at and create a market for it. We like to call down ourselves and say that we cannot compete with other countries. it’s time we stop it. Invest in Dominica and in the future we will reap the rewards. The money that is being spent to pay people’s cell phone bills or fuel those nice cars can be used to research what is the best crop for Dominica. We have enough land that we can set up large plantations to grow what ever crop is in demand.

        • Eric Cartman
          March 19, 2010

          I like your positive attitude but you don’t know what you are talking about!!

          Small-scale agriculture is not cost-effective therefore Dominican agricultural products will be hard-pressed to compete price-wise with countries where large-scale agriculture is done on an industrial level.

          Plus the topography of Dominica (mountainous) comes with its own set of challenges. Think about it, if the solution was so simple wouldn’t the politicians have done it already? Even if its just to secure votes?

          FYI i have been to nearly every C/bean island and our vegetation is actually pretty common its just that we have the largest proportion of ‘bush’ compared to developed areas.

          And places like Costa Rica in Latin America just to give one example actually have way better eco-tourist attractions than d/a.

  19. Jayson
    March 18, 2010

    As far as I observed the fire services got there extremely fast!! Hats off to them and it was relieving to see no one got hurt!

    • Dominican
      March 18, 2010

      Coulibistrie to Roseau is not a minute this is why the west coast needs a fire station….secondly i am not saying im not grateful but to all those people that there saying fire service came extremely fast..you’re so wrong….i leave in the area and they didnt come extremely fast actually they came when the fire was calming down.

      • concerned
        March 19, 2010

        .actually visiting dominica many times and havng people inthe coulibistrie area, my major concern has been a full fledge hospital.medical techs on the anbulances and some proper fire stations especially when you are promoting tourism in your country. whats up with the roads..too many pot holes. and stop giving the chineses so much leverage and allowing them to open businesses but not bringing in there own workers and stipulating the fact they should only hire dominican citizens

        • Efrem Ravariere
          March 19, 2010

          Hey Chat, the chinese should be given the oppportunities that the Gov’t give them and they should never be allowed to bring their labour force from China, never, ever, ever. Chat this is one of the problems that people like me face in another country. If the Chinese bring in the own labor force the company will have to provide certain priveleges for them, such as housing, a car, and other monetary priveleges called perdiem. Dominicans should be the ones to enjoy such priveleges, so don’t ever allow the Chinese to bring in their one labor force, and also more than likely they will have the better jobs especially in the management area.

  20. Vieille Case Itassian
    March 18, 2010

    The west coast is too large of a district for there not to be a fire station

    • Coton-Vieille Case
      March 19, 2010

      i do agree…there is need for one on that west coast area!!

  21. Anonymous
    March 18, 2010

    say pa ky zor kee bweelay,so u doh think a fire and ambulane would benifit the district.

  22. Dr. Finger
    March 18, 2010

    If the government wants to win in the next 5 years again, a good strategy would be to build and equip fire stations in the major villages. Matter of fact, wherever we have police station we should have fire stations. Staff them with at least three fire officers crossed trained as paramedics. I am certain south korea and japan would donate the ambulances and china, the US, Britain and France would donate small fire fighting vehicles. That would be nice to have.

    • salisbury constituency
      March 18, 2010

      so tru… we need a fire station on the west coast and its been years we’re asking for one.. so the government should now consider that please

    • Jepter
      March 19, 2010

      DR. Finger,
      I find good sense in your contribution.

    • Pompei
      March 21, 2010

      Dr. finger cannot be nmore right than that.

  23. thinking
    March 18, 2010

    “typical dominican”

  24. DVT
    March 18, 2010

    God help them in their time to troubles!!

  25. j
    March 18, 2010

    hope no one is here. my prayers are with you.

  26. Anonymous
    March 18, 2010


    • H-Mac
      March 19, 2010

      How you find that nah???? I never seen such a thing but its a good thing bucket brigade strong in st.joe eh……. every where else sorry but alyou take…!!!!!!

  27. Typical Dominican
    March 18, 2010

    awa wii..may God be with those ppl…and d fire service taking too much time to respond to situations like that!!

    • volcano
      March 18, 2010

      i back u on that

    • Oh PLZ!
      March 18, 2010

      As an eyewitness, I would like to commend the fire and ambulance for getting down there so quickly. Thank you guys.

      • Anonymous
        March 18, 2010

        big up

    • chat
      March 18, 2010

      stop being a stupid you think the west to roseau is a minute

      • Typical Dominican
        March 19, 2010

        whatever ‘chat’……no one can’t be stupid for making an (THEIR OWN)opinion…!!

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