Saba’s emergency services were rushed to a dormitory building on Thais Hill Road in The Bottom around 7:30am Saturday, for a gas explosion that left one man severely burned.
A loud crack was heard throughout The Bottom that morning and a large plume of white smoke was seen coming out of the building and drifting into the sky. Several village residents also reported feeling the explosion’s aftershocks, which prompted them to call the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN and the Saba Fire Department.
Police, firefighters and the Ambulance Department were then dispatched to the building.
The dormitory is a privately-owned building that mainly houses students of Saba University School of Medicine (SUSOM). A Chinese supermarket is also located in the building’s ground floor. The supermarket’s owners and their family members also reside in the building.
The entire building was evacuated while emergency services were at work and a crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene. Firefighters quickly had the fire under control.
One medical student, a resident of the building, reported that the door to her dormitory was blown open due to the force of the blast. Several others reported hearing screaming and the calls of fellow residents to leave the building shortly after the explosion.
One student was severely burned in the incident and was taken to A.M. Edwards Medical Center for treatment. He was later flown to Miami, Florida, for further medical attention.
A second victim was treated for smoke inhalation and was admitted at A.M. Edwards Medical Center for observation. She was released several hours later.
Local coffee house Bottom Bean Café started a fund to help cover the medical expenses of the severely burned man. “We can all do our part by making a donation to help him and his family with the cost of his medical and recovery bills,” said the café on Facebook.
The exact cause of the explosion is still unclear. While Saba authorities have confirmed that it was a gas explosion, they would not confirm whether it was a bottle of liquefied petroleum gas that exploded.
The Daily Herald.