Updates, Photos, Videos: Fire On Front Street

July 21, 2016

[Updating: The Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service responded to a fire on Front Street in Hamilton at 4:32am, with 16 vehicles and over 30 personnel. Summary points at top with updates below.

  • Police: Advise of major traffic delays in area
  • Govt: Due to Front St closure will be minimal disruption to bus operations
  • BFRS: Buildings involved  house Chewstick & Onion Jack and they “sustained major damage”
  • BFRS: There have been “no reported injuries at this time to civilians or firefighters”
  • As 8pm, some traffic diversions remains in place
  • View all our coverage of the fire here.


The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service are presently responding to a fire on Front Street in Hamilton, with multiple firefighters and vehicles currently on scene. As of this writing, the firefighters continue to battle the blaze and we will update as able.

Update 5.56am: You can watch live video via our Periscope account and Facebook page.

Update 5.59am: Firefighters are getting water from the Harbour

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Update 6.06am: The fire is still ongoing and large plumes of smoke can be seen over Front Street

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Update 6.25am: Another quick video from the scene

Update 6.35am: The fire is still blazing

Fire Bermuda July 21 2016 (4)

Update 6.44am: The police have, for obvious reasons, advised of traffic delays in the area.

Update 6.47am: The BFRS said, “The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service responded to a fire at #77-81 Front Street in Hamilton this morning at approximately 4:32am.

Sergeant Delton White reports, “We responded to a 3 story fire on Front Street where there were visible flames and smoke seen emitting from the building. On our arrival it was discovered flames in an alleyway between the buildings.

“We responded with 16 vehicles and over 30 personnel. We are currently using all resources and efforts to extinguish the fire.

“Sections of both Front and Reid Streets between Court Street and Burnaby Hill are inaccessible until further notice.”

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Update 6.59am
: A look at how the fire appeared around 10 minutes ago

Update 7.09am: Audio statement from the Fire Service

Update 7.16am: Police Media Manager Dwayne Caines said, “Police are advising the motoring public that as a result of the rain, low visibility [especially on Harbour Road] and Front and Reid Street being blocked off due to the fire, to make contact with employers. We are advising the public of major traffic delays and to be wise when traveling into the City and do not put yourself at risk.”

Update 7.26am: ‎A police statement said, “The motoring public is advised that due to a fire in the area of 75 Front Street City of Hamilton, traffic diversions have been put in place until further notice. It is recommended that commuters heading into the City of Hamilton take alternate routes where possible.

Traffic is currently being diverted:

  • North on Court Street
  • East on Church Street
  • East on Victoria Street
  • West at Burnaby and Reid Street
  • North at Front and Queen Street

Update 7.35am: William Madeiros of Freisenbruch Meyer said the fire is in the building immediately adjacent to theirs, and confirmed their team is safe as is their clients data. Audio statement from Mr Madeiros below.

Update 7.49am: Govt said, “The public is advised that buses and ferries are operating as per normal this morning. The inclement weather has not effected operations of the ferry system.

“As a result of this morning’s closure of Front Street, there will be minimal disruption to bus operations, as those buses which would normally arrive into Hamilton along Front Street will simply use the normal Wednesday evening Harbour Night route which takes them up Court Street on to Victoria and to the terminal.”

Update 8.02am: Live video continues on our Facebook page..

Update 8.24am: Fire personnel can also be seen on Reid Street

IMG_5418 july 21 2016

Update 8.32am: The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son said its Head Office building and Reid Street Banking Centre in the City of Hamilton will be closed for the entire day today.

“The closure is due to restricted access to some sections of Reid and Front Streets resulting from a fire in the City earlier today. All other Banking Centres are open as usual,” a spokesperson said.

“In addition, the Butterfield 101 information session scheduled to be held at the Reid Street Banking Centre this evening has been cancelled. Butterfield regrets any inconvenience.”

Update 8.44am: William Madeiros of Freisenbruch Meyer is handing out breakfast to police & firefighters.

Update 9.06am: The police advised that Front Street between Burnaby Hill and Parliament Street is inaccessible and “might be that way for a majority of the day.”

Update 9.15am: 2.5 hour live video replay:

Update 9.21am:
The scene as of a few minutes ago

Fire Bermuda July 21 2016 (31)

Update 9.31am: The BFRS confirm the buildings involved in the fire house Chewstick & Onion Jack and “have sustained major damage” and also confirmed there have been “no reported injuries at this time to civilians or firefighters.” The fire “has been surrounded” however they are still “wetting down hotspots.”

Update 9.47am: Audio statement from the BFRS

Update 10.14am: Chewstick — whose building has sustained extensive damage — said they are “grateful to the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service for their brave response” and they “will need support from the Chewfam and broader community” so to “please consider donating using one of the below links.”

Update 10.55am: Audio below of National Security Minister Jeff Baron who was on scene and thanked the BFRS for their hard work in containing the fire, and expressed his thoughts to the businesses that were affected.

Update 11.46am: Minister Baron on scene speaking with Gavin Smith and other Chewstick members

Baron speaking with Chewstick personnel Bermuda July 21 2016 (1)

Update 12.39pm: Reid Street pictured a few minutes ago

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Update 1.30pm: The Govt said, “Please be advised that the Cabinet Office is closed for the remainder of today, due to this morning’s serious fire which has resulted in the closure of select areas of Reid Street and Front Street. As a reminder the Cabinet Office is currently located on the first floor of Innovation House, 46 Reid Street, Hamilton, which is in close proximity to the fire area.”

Update 2.19pm: The latest statement from the BFRS, from around 2pm, said “we are about to open Front Street for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, however Reid Street will continue to be closed off between Parliament Street and Burnaby Hill.” Audio below.

Update 2.51pm: As of this writing, Front Street remains closed.


Update 5.02pm: A police spokesperson said, “Reid Street between Parliament Street and Burnaby Street in the City of Hamilton remains closed to motorists and pedestrians. All other traffic diversions have since been removed. However, the motoring public should still expect some delays exiting the city.”


Update 5.36pm: OBA Chair Lynne Woolridge said, “The One Bermuda Alliance offers our sympathy to those affected by the devastating fire in Hamilton this morning.

“Today is a sad day for Bermuda and the tenants of 77-81 Front Street; Onion Jack’s, the Chewstick Foundation, the Queen Management Companies – Bermuda Executive Services, Atlantic Caregiving and Island Bargains – and other affected businesses that contribute so much to the fabric of our community.

“While it is fortunate there were no injuries, the losses to the organisations and businesses affected will be devastating. We will join with the community to support the rebuilding of these organisations and businesses and urge anyone who can assist to do so in whatever way they can.

“On behalf of everyone affected and all residents of Bermuda, we offer sincere thanks to the emergency services, the Bermuda Police Service, EMTs and the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service who responded quickly and professionally to bring the blaze under control.”

Update 5.39pm: BFRS Sergeant Delton White said, “Front Street and Reid Street have now been opened to the public for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“We still have a small crew on Front Street and ask that the public use caution when passing the area. We would also like to advise the public to not approach the scene of the incident as the area is still under investigation and is deemed unsafe.

“We would finally like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the public that assisted us by providing food, refreshments and assistance whilst dealing with this incident.”

Update 8pm: Govt said, “The public is advised that as firefighters were tonight still battling the blaze on Front Street, those buses which would normally arrive into Hamilton along Front Street will continue to use the Wednesday evening Harbour Night route which takes them up Court Street on to Victoria and to the terminal. This procedure will remain in effect until necessary.”

Update 8.01pm: Front Street is again partially blocked off.

Update 9.47am: Firefighters remain on scene at Reid Street around 9.30pm with a hose connected to trucks pumping water.

Front Street Fire Bermuda, July 21 2016-4

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Photos from our original story below:

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Fire on Front Street Bermuda July 21 2016 (1)

Fire on Front Street Bermuda July 21 2016 (4)

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Category: Accidents and fires, All, News

Comments (65)

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  1. Rhonda says:

    I pray dear God no one was in the building..

    • Onion Juice says:

      It’s gonna be a HOT, HOT summer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Cedar says:

      Thank God for the rain.

    • the struggle is real says:

      Indeed. I’m not sure why such a comment would attract ‘dislikes’ though.

      • realist says:

        Probably because thanking god would seem rather pointless when logic dictates that god ought to have prevented the fire in the first place.

        Maybe “thank goodness” for the rain?

        • Janice Battersbee says:

          THANK GOD FOR THE RAIN!!!!

        • Janice Battersbee says:

          THANK GOD FOR THE RAIN!!!! And thank GOD for the Bermud Fire Service and The Bermuda Police Service. Thank GOD that no one was hurt or worse!!

          • sage says:

            Should God be thanked for allowing the fire to start too?

            • Kat says:

              If God did not allow the fire to happen we would not have had the opportunity to see the compassion and kindness of others, to be grateful for our blessings or give thanks to Him.

              • Zevon says:

                Is that why god gives cancer to children? So that we can see his compassion?

                • Divine says:

                  God doesn’t give anyone Cancer. It’s just living in this world of strife, bitterness, greed (putting chemicals in food to get a bigger profit) sin and hate that causes sickness and death. God provide the garden of Eden that had none of those things but Satan, the devil and man changed all that.

                  How come no one blames the Devil when something bad happens.

            • Janice Battersbee says:

              God has allowed us to live on His earth in spite of how we have rejected Him. This fire was not His doing – so don’t blame Him.

          • cattle decapitation says:

            ahhhh…god…right there with fairies and unicorns!

            • Janice Battersbee says:

              You take the faries and unicorns……I’ll take Him!

              • cattle decapitation says:

                both are the same…fake…lmao!

        • The struggle is real says:

          Oh ok, so its a religious thing. I think the general sentiment is hoping for the best for all concerned regardless of who you choose to thank. Im not a religious person and I think disliking it because one is focusing on the ‘god’ part of the commment and the greater, more important message and gratitude that noone was injured. Seems a little silly, but whatever.

      • Onion Juice says:

        how dare you say something light hearted on such a serious matter… you must not care about Bermudians that could have been in that building

        • realist says:

          Certainly not lighthearted, but as Paz says why thank”god” for the rain when he didn’t prevent it happening in the first place. You can’t have it both ways.

          I would also like to say thank you to the guest workers who helped put the fire out, and to all the guest workers who work in those buildings, in addition all the Bermudians involved.

        • smh says:

          So it only would have mattered to you if “Bermudians” were in the building? How about saying if ANYONE in the building. Sick sick sick puppy

        • Onion Juice says:

          I take it that you ran out of names.

      • Paz says:

        It could have been an accidental “dislike”.

        More likely it was from exasperation at people who thank their all-knowing god for the rain but do not thank or question him/her/it for the fire. As if their god just looked down from the sky and noticed a fire on the streets of Bermuda then sent water down to help quell it.

        Indoctrination at its finest.

        • Onion Juice says:

          of course it was our lord saving us… He shines light upon all those who are worthy


          • Kangoocar says:

            If that is true? I bet your world is very dark?

          • serengeti says:

            But didn’t God start the fire in the first place?
            It seems a bit like attention seeking, to start a fire just to take credit for putting it out when it later rains. Did he do all this for the complements?

            • The struggle is real says:

              Unbelieveable. A major fire causing probably millions in damage, THANKFULLY( to noone in particular lest I be stricken with dislikes!!)noone was hurt, and the commentary is centered on religion.

              Thats enough internet for today.

          • smh says:

            Oh oh…that’s not good news for you then

        • Its me again says:


      • wow says:

        Probably because rain can also increase the intensity and mixed with certain chemicals can actually make it spread further. The reason fire fighters use other chemicals to control the fire and not only water

        • wow says:

          For example if grease,for some reason,is fueling this fire then water could make it a bigger problem to control.

      • Smhstfu says:

        Maybe people that don’t believe in god would be a reason.

  2. Dear God please protect all the firefighters n everyone else in the area.

  3. lisa says:

    I pray that none was hurt

    • Smarter441 says:

      sitting and talking to your self wont keep them safe

  4. wahoo says:

    So is that in the FM building or in back?

  5. UmJustSaying says:

    WHY is my Ladder Truck not there???????????????????????????????.

    • wahoo says:

      I dunno, where did you park it last?

    • Retired # 27 says:

      I was wondering the same thing, why wasn’t the BRONTO out there???????

  6. Hope says:

    Hope all involved are ok. What building is this?

  7. Whistling Frog says:

    Where is your big ladder fire truck Mr. Fireman?

  8. Jennie Lee O'Donnell says:

    Excellent coverage by BerNews! So great to know what is going on minute by minute!

  9. Obadiah says:

    Fire fighters please be safe. Hope all goes well!

  10. Real Deal says:

    Wow I have not been in town at night for years I can hardly recognize the places in the photos. I feel like a tourist. hope that’s not the FM building they put a lot of effort into those renovation.

  11. Bermuda Daze says:

    Just came from town. No one was hurt thankfully. Major traffic messes tho.

    • Nancy Kelley says:

      Thank God everyone is safe …. Buildings can be replaced if need be

  12. Northshore says:

    Front and Reid streets going to be quite today! What is it with this time of year and fires? Wasn`t there a big belco fire in July a couple of years ago?

    • FML says:

      definitely old infrastructure along some of those buildings. Nonetheless nothing will be revealed until investigation is done.

  13. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Boat fire yesterday too…

  14. Party goer says:

    ITS LIT!!!!!!

  15. Thank you Bernews again for live up to the minute reporting and hopefully the building is insured, but more thankfully that there was no lost of life, our prayers are with and all who are effected, including the neighboring businesses that had to close as a result, and their employees, the well being of the fire fighters and pray that the smoke inhalation is very limit to those on the front line.

    This is a true reminder of we never know what a day can bring and we ought to be thankful in every moment we have.

  16. THAT GUY says:

    There was a lot of thunder and lightning very early this morning, so this may have been the result of a lightning strike (possibly).

    Heard and felt a few really big lightning cracks at about that time of the morning.

  17. Hiiii says:

    @wow our lord knows what he is doing

  18. Too hot says:

    12 hours to put a fire out and 1/4 of the city shutdown….almost as impressive as the HWP Fire fiasco

    • What?? says:

      Ahh. Did it inconvenience you for a few minutes? Well isn’t that terrible! Just a guess but I bet you’re a millennial.

    • Retired # 27 says:

      Too hot, sounds like you may have problem with the time it takes to put out a fire, I did it for 31 years, maybe if you do have a problem, I suggest you get out there and show us how it’s done.

  19. Rebecca Richards says:

    My husband and I live in the States and we travel to Bermuda every 6 months, we have a trip scheduled the end of August. We always keep up on the bernews. I was sad to wake up to the news that there was a fire in Hamilton. We are praying for all our BermudIan friends and BermudIan people. We love roaming the island and chatting with all the amazing people.

  20. Lili K says:

    “William Madeiros of Freisenbruch Meyer is handing out breakfast to police & firefighters” Classy thing to do.

  21. mary says:

    God bless all! Thankful for no injuries. My adopted beloved Bermuda has all my hugs today!

  22. Suspicious says:

    What a shame for Front Street.

    That store had been closed for a few weeks when I passed by during the day…. I assumed they were going out of business.
    Glad no one was hurt but how horrible for all the neighboring businesses affected particularly the Chewstick family.
    Is foul play suspected?

  23. SpiritofBermuda says:

    Is that the old J B Astwood building?

  24. Hair says:

    Power of positive thinking. Nobody was hurt!! And life carry’s on :)

  25. Widget says:

    Just wondering but does this fire department not have a ladder truck. Didn’t see one no place. Bermuda, you can’t fight a fire like this without a ladder truck people.

  26. takbir Sharrieff says:

    I thank G-D for all the prayers of the believers ,and the faithful of any denomination./G-D lives and is the Ever living ,the ever existing, I also thank G-D in his mercy And there is none like unto him.He always has and will ever be the creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in between. and he has no equal,and no partner, in his creation.I also thank G-d for his mercy and his compassion that no lives were lost ,either In the fire,or the firefighters.Surprising how G-D only comes to mind and in the forefront in calamity or emergency.The human ,,,,E.G.O. wants to ,,,,{Ease G-D out },,,,,,in times of peace and tranquility.I thank Allah for his presence always.Peace / amen.Thank you also Bermuda.