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."