Too hot for water
Not all fires can be doused with water, says Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall.
The fire at B’s recycling centre, which started yesterday, was one of them.
He said that it was “super heated” and “well engulfed” and they took the best course of action to quell the flames on the five acres of land.
“If we put water, it would go on the top and the heat would turn the water into steam and it would have had little effect because the fire was deep seated. The things were packed high and when we put the water it would flow on the top turn to steam and would not reach where the fire is. We would be wasting water and time once its like that,” he explained in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
He added that if the fire was an a smaller area, it would have been possible to use the excavator, pull some of the items apart and soak areas.
He said that at the recycling plant they were “blocking out the oxygen” by smothering it with soil.
As to any concerns the Environmental Health Department had, Chief Environmental Health Officer Tyrone Applewhaite told journalists this evening at a press briefing at the Cane Garden location where a command centre had been set up, that “from an environmental health perspective it is always good to know that we have some level of comfort in the operation of some of these establishments”.
Those establishments being landfills and dumps.
“There’s no doubt that when we look at the practices across the country in terms of how we manage and regulate the systems obviously there’s room for improvement and we would hope that in the future we’d be in a better position to regulate and monitor such establishments because if we do not these would continue to occur overnight,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joy St. John said that the Ministry of Health through the Environmental Health Department had “certain roles which we perform” as did the Environmental Protection Department, which fell under the Ministry of the Environment. (DS)