CHARLESTOWN, St. Kitts and Nevis – A fire did major damage Friday to a Treasury Department building Friday on Nevis, destroying records and computer services that an official on the Caribbean island said were critical to government operations.
The fire, the third at a government building in the two-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis this month, had engulfed the building in Charlestown by the time authorities arrived on scene before dawn, said Acting Fire Chief Everette O'Garro.
The cause was under investigation. O'Garro said it had not been determined whether there is any link to the previous fires this month at buildings on the island of St. Kitts, though he noted the timing was unusual for the small country.
"It's not normal for us to have that amount of significant fires in such a short space of time," O'Garro said.
The Treasury Department building included space used by the Department of Inland Revenue for tax collection and the damage include the destruction of important financial records and computer servers used by the government, said Vance Armory, the premier of Nevis.
"The government's heart really has been devastated," he said.
On Jan. 5, fires that were deliberately set destroyed the Venezuelan Embassy and damaged the offices of the Organization of American States on St. Kitts. Two suspects were detained and later released. Prime Minister Denzil Douglas blamed allies of the opposition Unity Party, an allegation denied by party officials.