Dump fire contained but still burning

| 24/01/2020 | 106 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS) UPDATED: Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker has warned that the blaze currently burning at the vehicle recycling area at the George Town landfill could take days to put out. But in an updated press release on Saturday, officials said Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) crews had worked through the night to bring the fire under control. While the visible flames are out, the scrap cars are still burning and crews will press on excavating and turning the smouldering and smoking areas as the battle to extinguish the fire continues.

The thick black smoke plume, which was visible across the entire island Friday, still exists and smoke will continue rising from the remaining deep seated fires as they are exposed and doused, officials added.

Preventing re-ignition remains a priority for CIFS, and speaking from the scene, the fire chief expressed his pride in the crews who have worked around the clock on this serious blaze.

“A very challenging fire involving mixed waste materials, difficult access, limited water supplies and variable winds is now under control,” he said, as he added his gratitude to the Department of Environmental Health, the RCIPS, the National Roads Authority and other government departments that have pitched in. The blaze was believed to have started in the area where the private waste firm, Island Recycling, operates. They have also provided help in the efforts to tackle to fire.

Yesterday Walker outlined some of the challenges crews were facing as they tried to contain the blaze. “Tackling a fire at any recycling plant always has its challenges due to the combination of materials with differing combustion characteristics found at the site,” he said. “This will mean the incident is likely to be a protracted one that we will be tackling over the coming few days.

“Changing wind directions and a long fire front have meant the need for us to change our strategy as required in order to contain the fire. Our crews are working tirelessly to bring the fire under control and to a swift end,” he added.

Fire crews from both West Bay and the Central Fire Stations were deployed to the scene, with officers at the Frank Sound Fire Station providing cover for the rest of Grand Cayman while their colleagues tackle this fire. The DEH also sourced more heavy equipment from the National Roads Authority to help those fighting the fire, and arrangements were made with private sector companies to drill additional wells to help with the necessary water supply.

The authorities urged residents and businesses affected by the smoke plume to keep windows and doors closed until the fire has been put out. The public and building managers should also monitor their air-conditioning units to ensure that smoke is not drawn into buildings or homes. The Public Health Department said anyone exposed to the smoke who develops respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or shortness of breath, should visit or contact a healthcare facility for assessment.

Meanwhile, the main George Town Landfill site is still operational, as that area is unaffected by the fire. Crews will continue to work throughout the day with the aim of completely extinguishing the blaze. Officials also stated that once the fire is out, a full investigation will be conducted by CIFS into how it ignited . 

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Category: Local News

Comments (106)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The dump needs to be moved.

    It cannot stay where it is and keep poisoning everyone around it

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, you could move the landfill to bodden town but there is no road. They will never build one for at least 10-15 years. The buildings need to stop being built next to a landfill. They just finishing 17 acre addition to their school. Another five and ten story building on beginning shortly and still no cure for landfill. I thought Dart was going to build a new one.

  3. Moi says:

    Was chatting to a lady at Fosters on Friday. She has a condo on 7MB. Stated she visits 4 times a year with her family, but this time may well be her last due to the smell and smoke from the dump, and having to close windows and go inside. Bottom line – it is disgusting that Cayman cannot remedy this. Vile.

  4. Elvis says:

    Oh oh oh oh I feel my temperature rising, higher and higher it’s burnin through to my soul, won’t you help me It feels like 109,
    Ok that’s an Elvis song, sorry

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