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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, June 27, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesInvestigation Continues Into Gas Works Fire

Investigation Continues Into Gas Works Fire

The burnt shell of the Gas Works station in Bovoni Sunday.Residents coming out for Sunday afternoon’s horse races on St. Thomas were surprised by the smell of smoke that still hung in the air around Estate Bovoni – a reminder of the explosions and fire that took down the nearby Gas Works station and convenience store the night before.

It appeared that many had not heard the news, as several drivers on their way home from the Clinton Phipps Racetrack attempted to turn into the station but were forced to loop around after seeing that the entrance to Gas Works – and the perimeter around the station itself – had been cordoned off by yellow police tape.

The convenience store on the property was charred and empty, while two men sat nearby, guarding the pumps from anyone looking to score some free gas.

According to Assistant Fire Services Director Darryl George, Tutu’s Lima Company received a call about the explosion at approximately 8:34 p.m. Saturday, and initially three units responded. Backup was called from the site after firefighters found that the rear of the convenience store was engulfed in flames.

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George said 11 units ended up responding, with seven firefighters from Lima Company, four from Fortuna, and several more from Hotel Company, along with approximately 20 off-duty firefighters. Two specialized trucks were also brought in from the V.I. Port Authority’s Fire and Rescue Unit, while V.I. Police Department officers and officials later moved through Bovoni area evacuating residents, George said.

George added that there was no concern that the fire would affect the pumps out front, but rather the storage facilities in the back of the station which also contained fuel tanks.

Along with thanking the V.I. Fire Services workers, Port Authority and other emergency units that came out Saturday and approximately 100 first responders, George also put out a special commendation to the 10 private water haulers that responded to the fire after a call for extra resources was put out by the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.

"That played a big role in this because once we had them ready to go, that’s when we made the big offensive push with the trucks from the airport and other resources, which is what helped us contain this so quickly," George said Sunday night. He added that the fire was extinguished around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, with the all-clear given approximately an hour later.

George said Sunday that two individuals were injured during the incident and were taken to the Schneider Regional Medical Center for treatment. V.I. Alert blasts from VITEMA indicate that one of the individuals in the gas station at the time received burns to 18 percent of his body.

George said the fire is under investigation by V.I. Fire Services’ Arson and Prevention Unit.

Statements sent out Sunday by Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Delegate Donna Christensen also commended the responding agencies and off-duty personnel for their quick work.

"The response team attacked the fire and at the same time, provided updated information to the community while taking steps to safeguard the residents of lower Estate Bovoni by calling for an evacuation of the immediate area," deJongh said in his statement.

The governor also traveled to the scene, where he was briefed by George and VIPD Commissioner Rodney Querrard.

"I also had the opportunity to speak with members of the Lima family, the owners of Gas Works. They too are grateful for the quick response by the government emergency services to protect life and property,” de Jongh said. "We are all grateful today to those who responded to the scene and did their part to avert what could have quickly manifested into a major disaster. Additionally, our prayers for a speedy recovery are with those who were injured in the blast and fire."

Christensen also extended her wishes for the recovery of the two individuals injured Saturday.

“I am grateful that there were no major injuries," she said. "I know that this was in great part due to the dedication of our firefighters, police and other first responders who continue to provide excellent service to our community."

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