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Sabotage suspected

Barbados’ lone landfill at Mangrove Pond, St. Thomas has been hit by its second tyre fire in as many years, and officials suspect this time it was “a deliberate act of sabotage”.

Sanitation Service Authority Public Relations Officer, Carl Padmore, told Barbados TODAY that while the organisation’s engineers and the Barbados Fire Service were still to complete a thorough probe into the cause of the blaze which started last night, their initial investigation suggested it was no accident. From before nine last night until the early hours of this morning firemen, SSA personnel, heavy equipment operators from Sustainable Barbados Recycling Centre and C.O. Williams Construction, and a convoy of truckers, battled the blaze at the dump’s old cell, using soil to cover the flames.

The effort continued this morning under the supervision of SSA General Manager Stanton Alleyne and other members of his team. The flames and black billowing smoke of last night were absent, replaced by grey smoke and the odour of burnt rubber.

And while the SSA and fire officials were still not fully aware of the extent of the fire, Padmore said its origins was a concern.

“Our preliminary investigations suggest that it was a deliberate act of sabotage,” he said. “We are going to wait on something official from the Barbados Fire Service and our engineers because they are going to now take it more in-depth but at a first glance this is what the evidence is suggesting to us right now.”

The spokesman said the event would put further strain on the SSA’s already stretched financial and human resources.

“We have concerns about this suspected act. This is just one of many acts involving the Sanitation Service Authority and affecting personnel and vehicles. It really concerns us and it speaks to a lack of respect for the role of the SSA. We are just hoping for that day when people can see what we do is an essential service, looking after the country,” he said.

“When we have to now re-deploy resources to deal with an ugly episode like this then what it does is it retards the work we are doing in other departments, but we are happy with the cooperation from the other entities and we believe that we will be able to resume normal functioning.”

Padmore also said while SSA management was happy no life and equipment had been damaged by the fire, there “is a cost for this operation”, which they still had to quantify.

He praised the efforts of personnel from the SSA, SBRC, C.O. Williams Construction and Barbados Fire Service, saying they had “worked tirelessly” to successfully control the blaze.

“We have not been able to go right inside the affected area yet, but we have gone past containment. Last time it was the old tyres which were burning, but this time it was a small section of new tyres,” Padmore said. (SC)

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