Our Community - Andrew Nunez - "The distinguished extinguisher of San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 17            May 3, 2001

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Andrew Nunez

Less than a month ago San Pedro inaugurated a new fire station, a more modern facility which was long overdue on this island. Along with this new building we also see a fresh new face in our town as head of this fire department. This week we are pleased to introduce residents of San Pedro to their new Fire Chief - Mr. Andrew Nunez.

    Mr. Nunez, born and raised in Belize City, attended St. Joseph's Elementary School and Junior Secondary I (now Gwen Lizarraga High School), graduating in 1980. Immediately after high school his family insisted he find a respectable trade that would provide him a prosperous future. Acquainted with a tailor in his neighborhood, Andrew became a sewing apprentice. After training for only six months he was able to perform the tricks of the trade. This included using the older methods of shrinking cloth, sewing by hand and single-stitch machines. As ready-made clothing became more readily available, business started to decline and Andrew needed to find a new career.

    A volunteer fire fighter since the early part of the 80s, Andrew decided he could make a living at this field of work. He started out as a part-time fire fighter taking on sleeping duties (late-night shifts). In 1993, Andrew's determination and willingness to learn were recognized and he became a full-time employee of the Belize City Fire Station. He slowly climbed the ladder of success achieving a series of higher ranks in the force. In 1994, Andrew joined the San Ignacio Fire Department and one year later was transferred to Benque Viejo del Carmen as the Second Officer in Charge. By 1996, he was promoted to Officer in Charge of that department, a post he maintained until 1999. Andrew Nunez was then transferred back to Belize City, employed in the operations office as the Fire Safety Inspector until his transfer to San Pedro in January of 2001. His new position in "La Isla Bonita" entailed supervising ten workers during the construction of the new fire station. When the building was completed, the first week of April, Andrew accepted a position as Fire Chief for the San Pedro Fire Department.

    As the leading fire fighter and fire chief, Nunez's main duty is to take command at a fire scene and to make sure the vehicles are ready and able to respond to any emergency. Chief Nunez commented, "The San Pedro fire fighters are working hard to regain the trust of the people of this town. We are improving the department so the community can have a sense of safety. We are dedicated to providing them the utmost security. To prepare for this I prepare scenarios in my head and our fire fighters act them out in order to prepare for any emergency."  Chief Nunez also stated that their department relies heavily on voluntary fire fighters and invites anyone interested in and dedicated to community service to join the force. Exercises are held every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. "You don't need to make an appointment just show up and be ready to commit yourself," said Mr. Nunez.

    Andrew Nunez is a happily married man and the father of five children (two boys and three girls). Apart from his vast fire fighting knowledge, he also brings to San Pedro an eagerness to improve the service and educate the public about fire prevention. No doubt the residents of this town will now be able to sleep easier knowing that we have a skilled and experienced Fire Chief, Andrew Nunez, who keeps fire fighters on their toes ready to extinguish any spark that might flare up in "Our Community."

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