Thursday 24 June 2021

Inferno In San Jose Leaves 40 Families With Nothing (Photos)

A huge fire Monday afternoon consumed left some 40 families homeless and with nothing but the clothes on their backs, in the makeshift community known as El Pochote, in Barrio Cuba, in the Hospital District of San José.

The fire that began around 4:00 pm burned everything in a square area estimated between 1,500 and 1,800 square meters (16,000 and 20,000 square feet), dwellings mostly wood and zinc, with a few concrete or metal structures, accessed only a narrow alley, home to some 300 people.

- Advertisement -

Twelve fire units (some 120 firefighters), two tanker trucks with a capacity of 26,000 gallons each to provide water, due to lack of nearby fire hydrants, ambulances, and the Aparatos de Respiración Autocontenida (Arac) – Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus helped with the emergency.

The first alarm was at 4:05 pm, the Bomberos (fire department) reported having the fire under control at 5:53 pm, almost two hours later, to give an idea of the enormity of the inferno.

Luckily no one was seriously injured, trapped by the flames or victims to mourn.

- Advertisement -

Héctor Chaves, director of the Bomberos said that several of the residents required assistance for respiratory problems due to the heavy smoke and three firefighters received medical attention, two after inhaling toxic gases and another suffered an injury when part of a wall/roof fell on him.

The narrow alley and uneven terrain made it difficult for quick access to the fire.

María del Milagro Pérez, a resident, said that around 4:00 pm she heard a big explosion, most likely from a short in the tangled web of overhead power cables and transformers. “I could only take some things and my dog. Everything happened very fast. I have been living here for eight years. There were three people in my house and we were able to leave.”

Problems with working hydrants and flowing water led the firefighters to extend a tandem hose of almost a kilometer (some 3,000 feet), from the scene of the fire to the Numar company.

- Advertisement -

As the fire burned, a dense black cloud could be observed several kilometers away, according to drivers and people living in nearby places, such as the Hatillos.

In addition, police closed off all access to the area, to avoid incidents, in particular, to stop residents from wanting to re-enter their burning homes, dwelling that for the most part were separated by a makeshift wall made of wood or zinc, which facilitated the fire to spread easily.

Imagine if you will an area of say 20 meters ( 65 feet) – one-fifth of a block, by 100 meters (325 feet), housing hundreds.

The Bomberos used special equipment to confirm that, according to Luis Salas, operative director of rescue, no one was trapped inside the debris, everyone was able to get out.

Bomberos Chief Hector Chaves stressed that it was an advantage that the fire occurred during the day, because of that facilitated evacuation. Had the fire occurred in the evening…

For the most part, “tugurios” – makeshift communities or shantytowns, are built ad-hoc, growing around a few original structures, adding as more and more people settle into the community, built with whatever is available, illegal electrical connections, some even legal as the utility companies do make connections on request. Water pipes connect the homes. Building permits, what are those? A fire code? No fire here…until…

Fire inspectors were able to pinpoint where Monday night’s fire started, at the end of the alley, deep down into the makeshift community, farthest from the main road. They have not as yet determined the cause.

Some 300 people (200 adults and 100 children), almost the entire community last night took shelter in the Barrio Cuba recreational center, others were fortunate enough to have a family to take them in.

Aid has been pouring in. Water bottles, foam mattresses, bed sheets, towels, non-perishable foods. Diapers for the children, milk, and cereal are in great need.

If you can help, take your donations to the Barrio Cuba recreational center.



- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

American woman found lifeless in hotel bathroom in Sabana

QCOSTARICA - A sad discovery occurred this Thursday morning in a...

Are you fully vaccinated? You can now enter Spain

Q TRAVEL - Travelers from the European Union or third countries,...


Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 22: plates ending in 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate

Today, Tuesday, June 22, plates ending in 3 & 4 CANNOT circulate. The measure is countrywide and applied between 5:00 am and 9:00 pm, save...

Tico tried to enter via San Jose airport with ¢93 million in cash

QCOSTARICA - A Costa Rican tried to enter the country through the Juan Santamaría International - San Jose Airport - with US$153,244 (the equivalent...

Antivirus creator John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison cell

Q24N - You may not know John McAfee, of his eccentrics, but you are sure to have the name and may even have your...

Companies covered up defective asphalt

QCOSTARICA - The judicial file of the Cochinilla Case, on alleged corruption in road works, exposes how three companies would have covered up the...

The United States will distribute 55 million vaccines against Covid-19 in Latin America, Africa and Asia

QCOSTARICA - The United States presented on Monday a plan to share 55 million doses of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, with approximately 75% of the...

Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s feature debut, Clara Sola, ready for the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Q ENTERTAINMENT (CINEUROPA) Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s debut feature, Clara Sola, is ready to take part in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film...

OIJ investigation into road works corruption leads to inquiries in Panama

QCOSTARICA - The prestige of the company of some of the richest men in Costa Rica hangs by a thread. For many, the MECO...

Facts and Career Opportunities for Positioning and Popularity of a Casino Dealer

Are you thinking about becoming a casino dealer? If you’re a Hungarian citizen, we’ll tell you more about what you need to know. You...

Flight paralysis from Canada hits Costa Rica’s tourism

QCOSTARICA - The paralysis of flights from Canada last January hit Costa Rica's tourism sector, as Canada was the second source market for tourists...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.