Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Harborside Blaze in Downtown Nassau

The last time a fire roared through the downtown tourist area of Nassau in the Bahamas it was the Straw Market that was destroyed. Yesterday, a blaze started downtown in Kelly's dockyard at around 7:45am and spread to numerous nearby buildings east of the Bacardi Store on Bay Street and East Street.

Just beyond the new Disney Dream in the photo at right you can see the fire to the left of the landmark yellow tower. The cruise terminal is located to the right of the tower, just out of view behind the Disney Dream.

It has been reported that the original fire broke out in the Betty K building, located just east of East Street North. The densely packed nature of the buildings in the area is said to have enabled the fire to spread quickly. Several fire engines from throughout New Providence Island, including as far away as the airport, were dispatched to the scene to pump harbor water onto the conflagration, which took hours to bring under control.

According to the Tribune, "Police estimate the entire block of buildings affected by the fire, including the Bacardi building and the Green Parrot Crew Pub, has been extensively damaged and is not salvageable." No serious injuries or deaths have been reported.

BahamasIslandInfo.com has photos taken at the height of the fire and new photos that reveal the extent of the damage and show cruise ships docked at the pier beyond the waterfront.

In port yesterday, Disney Dream and Carnival Glory were allowed to disembark passengers at the nearby Nassau cruise terminal, but did so later than usual. Cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean Intl are scheduled to visit Nassau within the week and no itinerary changes have been announced at this time.

For perspective, here are Cruise Diva's personal photos showing the area of the cruise terminal during a recent call at Nassau. In the photo at left, the brightly lit building just visible above the ship's bow to the right of the yellow tower is the cruise terminal at dusk.

Pictured at right, with the harbor behind it, is the iconic yellow tower. The buildings on the right-hand side of the street are those engulfed in the fire pictured above.

The fire and its aftermath will no doubt deal a heavy blow to the city and merchants of Nassau. We hope they recover and rebuild quickly and we look forward to visiting there again on future cruises.

UPDATE: For a follow-up story, see The Nassau Guardian.

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