Fire Destroys Cultural Assets Warehouse in Central Havana /

The fire reduced to ashes the warehouse and the offices of the Cultural Assets Fund. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Yosmany Mayeta, Havana, 31 January 2017 — A fire reduced to ashes, on Monday, a warehouse and the offices of the Cultural Assets Fund, which managed raw materials for artistic productions on Subirana Street, between Benjumeda and Santo Tomás, in Central Havana. The fire spread quickly and it required several fire brigades to put itout, due to its intensity and the flammable materials stored there.

Beatriz Noa, a resident of No. 301 Subirana, told 14ymedio that “the flames went out the front windows and the black smoke covered all these streets.” When she peeked out of the door of her home “the area was filled with police and firefighters, but they had to ask for reinforcements from nearby stations.”

According to the neighbors, the incident began when some welding sparks fell on the rolls of fabric stored in the warehouse. The flames quickly reached the offices, the workshops and the furniture housed in the premises.

The Ministry of the Interior has begun an investigation to determine the causes of the fire.

The Ministry of the Interior has begun an investigation to determine the causes of the fire

The images of the flames spread quickly through the application Zapya, widely used to share content on mobile phones. Onlookers filmed from the surrounding rooftops, but as the fire spread, police officers evacuated the area.

“There were many firefighters who came to support the first responders, because the flames went everywhere and the trucks arrived almost without water, but it was more than an hour before it was completely extinguished,” said Carlos, a young man who recorded everything with his cell phone from the top of a nearby building where “everything could be seen clearly.”

Noelia Fuentes, a resident of Subirana Street, between Santo Tomas and Clavel, explained that the smell of burning spread quickly throughout the neighborhood and the neighbors went out to see what was happening. “But when we saw that there were a lot of flames, we had to get away. The fire almost reached the electrical wires and was a danger,” she reported.

Some speculated that a fire in a place “with many valuable products, like fabrics, wood and lacquers,” would result in thousands of pesos worth of loses.

Minutes after arriving, the first fire trucks shut off the electricity because the flames were reaching the wires. After seven hours, at about five o’clock in the afternoon, electricity was restored.

In the evening hours, local workers and company managers began cleaning up and the street was once again passable for vehicles.