Looking at the aftermath of the massive fire that crippled Ramon’s Village Resort on Tuesday evening, August 27, 2013, it looks like a bomb went off in the middle of the two acre property. The devastating fire destroyed approximately 30 cabanas in addition to the resort office area, Pineapples Restaurant, the Purple Parrot, Ramon’s Gift Shop and related facilities. There are no reports of injuries to any guests, Ramon’s staff members, emergency services personnel or island residents.
But looking beyond the ashes and destruction, Ramon’s Village Resort has announced that it will ‘Be back…Better than ever!’ and with a section of the resort remaining totally undamaged by the fire, the resort is planning to resume operations as fast as humanly possible with the 40 rooms that were untouched.
The official police report indicated that the fire originated on the roof top of unit 15 and rapidly spread to the other units. The cause of fire is unknown at this time. But while investigations continue, Ramon’s Village Resort has already sprung into action to reopen the section of the resort that remains intact.
At the first sight of daylight the next day, it was amazing to see the staff of Ramon’s Village on site and ready to commence the cleanup process. Resort managers Mr. Ramon Nuñez and Mr. Einer Gomez, gathered the staff by the beach to assure that everybody still had a job and that the immediate plans are to continue operations with the available rooms while the rest of the resort is rebuilt.
Valiant efforts by San Pedro firefighters and police officers, Ramon’s staff members, local citizens and resort and island guests who manned fire hoses and formed bucket brigades are credited with stopping the blaze.
“We cannot say thank you enough to all of the people who fought this fire and helped us save as much of Ramon’s Village Resort as possible,” notes Ramon Nunez, General Manager of Ramon’s. “While we have suffered a tremendous loss, you can be assured that we are doing everything possible to ensure that our guests are taken care of as we begin assessing the damage.”
The Staff at Ramon's with the bosses early next morning ready to rebuild their village...Ramon's Village Resort (photo by Gach Guerrero)
Richard Headrick, owner of Ramon’s, commented that he was relieved that no injuries were reported; however, saddened at the loss. “Our hearts are broken that our beloved Ramon’s has suffered such damage. Over the past 27 years tens of thousands of guests have visited Ramon’s Village and had the time of their lives. However, out of adversity comes steadfastness and you can be assured that very soon the rebuilding of Ramon’s Village Resort will begin. In a short time, the Ramon’s Village that our many guests and friends have come to love and adore will be back hosting guests, and, Lord willing, our little piece of paradise will be better than ever!”
Assisting Ramon’s Village Resort to get back on its feet is the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) that says that the safe and well-being of the 25 guests staying at the resort at the time is also their priority and concern. All of them have been accounted for and relocated to nearby hotels and both the BTB and Ramon’s Village Resort have ensured that they will not incur any cost for their new accommodations, and we have provided them with care packages. Future reservations for the months of August and September 2013 will be honored with accommodations at sister properties near to Ramon’s and our dive center, so that the pleasure of our guest’s vacation will go unhindered. Guests with existing reservations, and those wishing to make future reservations, are requested to contact the Ramon’s U.S. Reservations Office at 1-800-624-4215 or via email at [email protected].
“Furthermore, our thoughts and support are with the employees and management of Ramon’s Village Resort, as they embark on a difficult and painful task to pick up the pieces from last night’s devastating loss,” stated the BTB in a press release. “We stand ready and willing to assist them as they start rebuilding.”
While the resort was significantly damaged, 40 of its cabanas and dive shop facility that weren’t affected by the fire are fully functional. The BTB’s Quality Assurance Department, which is tasked with ensuring that industry partners are in compliance with established standards of safety and quality, has reported that on December 16, 2012, the Quality Assurance Inspectors conducted a full inspection of Ramon’s Village Resort and found them to be in full compliance and up to standards. Members of the Board of Directors, Executive Management Team, and staff of the Belize Tourism Board are on the ground in San Pedro assisting with a rapid assessment of the damage.
Ramon's Village Resort's Dive Shop was untouched by the fire along with about 12 other buildings
Ramon’s staff members are evaluating the current situation and will provide information as soon as possible concerning the reopening of undamaged sections of the resort. A press release from the resort states that their design and construction personnel are on the ground in Belize ready to bring Ramon’s back! The dive operation—Ramon’s Village Divers—is still operational and continues to provide expert services to the diving community with our fleet of six dive boats up to 46’ in length.
Even Jerry Gilbreath, owner of the Purple Parrot Bar located at Ramon’s, for 27 years, stated that his crew is assessing the damage to the bar with hopes to be back in business soon. Gilbreath went on to say “I want to thank the many residents of San Pedro for quickly helping to try to save the Purple Parrot Bar along with Ramon’s Village Resort. Thousands of guests from around the world have enjoyed beverages from the world famous Purple Parrot Bar.”
As demonstrated during the fire on Tuesday night, the San Pedro community sprang into action- assisting with evacuation and forming bucket brigades to put out the blaze. A community galvanized by loss, all of the Belize tourism stakeholders and partners are confident that Ramon’s Village Resort will bounce back from this rather unfortunate and unforeseen incident with the help of residents and other local tourism partners.
Ramon’s Village Resort is one of the oldest resorts on the island and has been in operation since 1982. In 2002, Ramon’s was named Hotel of Year at the BTB’s Annual Tourism Awards. Later, in October 2010, founder of the resort, Ramon Nunez, was awarded with BTB’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution of over forty years to the tourism industry.
The resort is valued at $8 million US dollars and is the property of Richard Headrick, American national who resides in the US but managed by Einer Gomez, 47 years-old, Belizean of Pescador Drive, San Pedro Town. The property is insured.