Night watch

by Donna Sealy

Eight hours later and still blazing.
Eight hours later and still blazing.

Barbados’ emergency officials were buckling down for what seemed set to be long night at B’s metal dump.

After almost eight hours, the fire at the recycling facility in Cane Garden, St. Thomas, continued to consume everything in its path, showing no signs of letting up.

As the smoke billowed into the sky, portable lights were brought in to enable the emergency crews to see better while the press waited to be given the latest update which was initially scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

As the journalists waited, trucks were busy ferrying mould into the compound in an effort to smother the blaze, while staff of the company remained just outside the fire scene to lend any assistance they could.

Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who arrived at the scene before 6 p.m. and was met by Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall and his Deputy Errol Maynard, said around 8:15 p.m. that he asked officials to make another check of the areas downwind of the fire before he gave that update.

Minister of Industry and Small Business, Donville Inniss and Minister of Health John Boyce were also at the scene.

bsfirefromadistanceIt was just after 7 p.m. when an excavator from the Ministry of Transport and Works entered a section of the dump to cut a path through the remaining heap which would allow trucks to bring in mould to smother the flames.

Fire officials, policemen, members of the Department of Emergency Management, the Roving Response Team and the St. Thomas District Emergency Organisation were at a press briefing after 5 p.m.

Thomas said that what “you’re seeing here today is part of the kind of incident command system that we’ve been trying to perfect in Barbados, where on the scene near to the incident we have a lot of commanders in different areas, who have been brought together and they are bringing their expertise to the response to this events”, she said.

Thomas also noted then that everyone would stay put until the flames were extinguished as well as to make sure the environmental issues were “dealt with adequately”.

A family of four, which had to evacuate the area because of the smoke, was relocated by the Welfare Department.

The DEM also opened Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary for people who needed to leave their homes. They were asked to take personal effects and food to last them through the night.

A check at the Spooners Hill, St. Michael school just before 9 o’clock tonight revealed that its was prepared and open, school and Ministry of Education officials were on standby, but no affected residents had arrived seeking relief.

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