Speedo-clad Quebec firefighters help save vacationers from blaze in Dominican Republic



MONTREAL -- Two Speedo-clad Quebec firefighters rescued fellow Caribbean vacationers from raging flames that partly destroyed a Punta Cana resort this week, leaving several Canadians with nothing but their bikinis.

Sylvain Durocher and Yannick Tremblay, firefighters from east of Montreal, were relaxing on Bavaro beach Tuesday, in sunny Dominican Republic.

They told QMI Agency that a fire started around 4 p.m. in the kitchen next to their dining table.

"We could have died," Durocher said. "The fire was exploding the walls and it was growing in size."

The Quebecers quickly realized the gravity of the situation and started to evacuate the restaurant. However, they said they noticed that patrons were acting nonchalantly, and the eatery's managers were making clients pay food bills.

Durocher said the flames grew significantly after they ignited propane tanks.

"The flames were whistling as loud as a plane," Durocher said. "We evacuated the owner forcefully - he didn't want to leave. Then we heard a huge explosion."

Firefighters arrived from a nearby town and it took them 12 hours to control the fire. A restaurant, a new club, and about 15 rooms at a hotel were destroyed.

Durocher said he knows tourists who lost all their belongings in the hotel fire.

Nestor Veras, a firefighter who helped extinguish the flames, told local media that the fire propagated quickly due to strong winds.

Carl Eggiman, an Ontarian who owns a property near where the fire occurred, told QMI that Tuesday's fire was the biggest residents have seen in years.

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