Holy smoke!

Increase in fires so far this year

Firefighters across the island have been kept busy battling a number of house and bush fires –– Barbados recording more than 1,635 fires since the start of this year.

Motorists drivng along this section of the highway encountered smoke from the bush fires.
Motorists drivng along this section of the highway encountered smoke from the bush fires.
It must have been bothersome for motorists to drive through so much smoke.
It must have been bothersome for motorists to drive through so much smoke.

This is almost 100 more fires so far this year than in 2013. Today alone there were more than a dozen fires – mostly bush fires, the most bothersome occurring between Warrens and Hothersal Turning and at Graeme Hall in Christ Church.

And the Barbados Fire Service’s Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall has given the assurance that “under present circumstances” the department was adequately stocked with vehicles and manpower.

At the same time, fire officer in the research and planning department, Andrew Taylor, has issued a word of caution to householders and business operators as the island continues to experience dry conditions.

The Fire Service currently has approximately 21 vehicles across the island and approximately 215 firefighters. The last time the department received new vehicles was in 2011.

Since the beginning of 2014, to date there have been 1,635 fires across the island – 991 of which were grass fires, 44 house fires and ten fires to commercial buildings. This compared to a total of 1,553 for the same period last year. This consisted of 989 grass fires, 35 house fires and ten commercial.

There were 990 plus grass fires this year.
There were 990 plus grass fires this year.

The other fires to which the department responded would include electrical, motor vehicle and other structural fires such as containers and sheds. These fires are less frequent.

Marshall said he was satisfied that the department had enough vehicles and would ensure regular maintenance.

“We like to keep our vehicles looking tidy on the road; so if they reach the point where they need to be repainted or so [we do it]. We are not getting new ones right now; so we have to try and maintain what we have,” he said.

Taylor told Barbados TODAY it was critical that people not burn garbage at their residences, as this was a prime method of how some fires would start.

“Right now we are pretty much in the dry season. The word of caution to people is to stop the burning. People are still burning rubbish and grass around their lots and these can get out of control, and then we have problem. So just stop all burning,” warned Taylor.

In relation to changes within the Fire Service, last month the administration of the department relocated from the Probyn Street, St Michael headquarters to the fifth floor of the General Post Office building in Cheapside, St Michael.

Marshall added: “We are presently working on our Arch Hall station, but while I would love for there to be, there is no immediate plans for the upgrading of Probyn Street. Our fire prevention unit that was located at Worthing has now been relocated to Probyn Street. That is the only change really.”
marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

6 Responses to Holy smoke!

  1. Neysa Huey
    Neysa Huey May 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    interesting that the chief fire officer says he has adequate resources………they could not respond to that same fire spreading to two houses……..and the water carts from Applewaits and Friendship Plantations saved the two houses from being burnt. Surely if they had adequate trucks and manpower, they could have come to our aid?

    Reply
    • Neysa Huey
      Neysa Huey May 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      I have nothing but positive things to say about our hardworking fire officers. But the department is under staffed and not enough working tenders to go out to fight the large volume of fires that they are having to deal with this year.

      Reply
    • Janette Reifer
      Janette Reifer May 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      I have never known of so many fire in this country

      Reply
  2. Neysa Huey
    Neysa Huey May 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    interesting that the chief fire officer says he has adequate resources………they could not respond to that same fire spreading to two houses……..and the water carts from Applewaits and Friendship Plantations saved the two houses from being burnt. Surely if they had adequate trucks and manpower, they could have come to our aid?

    Reply
  3. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith May 23, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    During the dry season there maybe a need to temporarily increase fire officers. This can be done by using volunteers or transfers from other government departments.

    Reply
  4. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith May 23, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    During the dry season there maybe a need to temporarily increase fire officers. This can be done by using volunteers or transfers from other government departments.

    Reply

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