*Photo by Danny McDonald
*Photo by Danny McDonald

6:45PM UPDATE: The Palmetto Road was opened to vehicular traffic in the early hours of this morning and the Bermuda Fire Service have released the scene.

They will reassess the damage with a structural engineer on Monday to determine if the structure is safe for the occupants to return.

There were 4 people in the housing complex all escaped without injury except a 54 year old woman who received relatively minor first degree burns to her arms and face prior to exiting the home.

Neighbors of the Pembroke home damaged by what many describe as a loud explosion early Sunday were shocked that no one was killed by the blast.

"Just look at that house. I can't believe it wasn't worse," said one neighbor who refused to give her name.

Many speculated that it was some sort of gas explosion, but that could not be confirmed with authorities on Sunday.

The explosion and subsequent fire, which occurred before 3 a.m. Sunday, demolished the back corner of the yellow house on Border Lane, located just off Palmetto Road. Part of the roof and one of the floors collapsed. What was once a kitchen was reduced to a pile of rubble and charred wooden framing. The debris was still smoldering late Sunday afternoon.

The house, according to one next door neighbor, is uninhabitable. The area was still cordoned off by yellow police tape Sunday.

"I mean you could slam a door in that thing and the roof could come down," he said. "Look at the roof. It's not where it's supposed to be. It's like the cap got blown off kilter."

Neighbors believed that three units in the structure were occupied, although they were unsure how many people were displaced by the explosion. Three of the neighbors agreed that the landlord of the property lived upstairs, while his daughter lived in one of the units downstairs.

Some disagreed about what sound the explosion made — one woman said it was a rapid-fire "bang, bang" -- while another neighbor said it was a loud boom.

"I don't know how to describe it. Like a bomb, I guess," he said. "There was this loud boom and then all you heard was crumbling."

Those neighbors who were not awoken to the sounds of the explosion were quickly roused by authorities, who evacuated nearby homes upon arriving at the scene. 

"Everyone just went out as they were," said one Border Lane resident.

One man said he was not allowed back into his home until 5:30 a.m.

Bermuda Fire Service:

At approximately 2:40 am on Sunday April 13th, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service responded to a report of a Structural Fire at # 14 Railway Terrace, Pembroke. 

Fire Service spokesperson Lieutenant Leonard Davis reported that “The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service responded to the mentioned incident with 9 fire appliances staffed with 20 firefighters.  The Fire Service took approximately 10 minutes to arrive on scene.  Upon their arrival they found a 2 story dwelling fully involved in fire with a large section of the roof, approximately 20’ x 10’, collapsed.

Lieutenant Colin Swan of the Operations Division stated that “on our arrival we could see smoke and flames bellowing through the roof.  Firefighters dressed in self-contained breathing apparatus and equipped with two 1 ½” hose lines immediately gained entry into the premises.  The fire took approximately 45 minutes to bring under control.  Once the fire was extinguished, overhauling operations commenced.”  

Fire investigators were called to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire.   The fire is currently under investigation.

Bermuda Police Service: 

First responders attended a report of a partial house collapse and fire that took place at a dwelling on Border Lane and Palmetto Road in Pembroke at 2:40am.

It appears that the occupants of the home were awoken to the sounds of what they are describing as a loud explosion. All of the residents ( three apartment residence) managed to escape serious harm before a portion of the structure was engulfed in flames‎. The Bermuda Fire Service responded with two appliances and 14 fire personnel and an investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

Inspector Andy Morgan would like to thank the ‎neighbors in the area for their cooperation at the scene and he would like to further advise the public that Palmetto Road will be closed from Roberts Avenue to Bishop Spencer Road until Day light.