Dump inferno rages for 3rd day

| 08/03/2020 | 164 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS) Updated Monday 7:45am: The government announced Monday morning that John Gray High, George Town Primary, CIFEC and Cayman International schools will all be closed to students due to the excessive smoke in the area from the massive fire at the George Town dump. As the blaze raged across the landfill the civil service also said it will operate a relaxed attendance policy for parents whose children attend schools that are closed and the elections office is also closed.

Early Monday morning government officials said weather conditions were adding to the challenge for the more than two dozen fire fighters as well as environmental health staff that were battling to contain the blaze which has, it is understood spread from the garbage heap to the area where tyres are stored fuelling the toxic black fumes.

Given the dangers posed to respiratory health some residential areas around the dump were evacuated overnight Sunday and Monday morning and shelters at the Red Cross and at John Gray were opened.

Residents remaining in their homes have been advised to close doors and windows and monitor air-conditioning units for smoke intake. The Esterley Tibbetts Highway (ETH) between Camana Bay and the Butterfield roundabout remains closed and that will be reassessed at lunchtime Monday.

While officials had claimed that they were “seeing some success from their application of a specialised fire retardant at the scene” on Sunday night the fire is still raging.

Crews were said to be tackling the blaze from two strategic fronts based on risk: the Esterley Tibbetts Highway side and the Camana Bay side. All resources from the West Bay Fire Station and the Central Fire Station have been diverted to the landfill, while the Frank Sound Fire Station is providing cover to the rest of Grand Cayman and as such has moved two pumps to the cruise terminal landing in Spotts to be closer to George Town and West Bay.

But with winds in excess of 28mph conditions remain challenging and the crew’s priority is to contain the fire, trying to make sure it does not spread to the ETH and Camana Bay areas. RCIPS officers also remain on site where the situation is described as dynamic and challenging.

The landfill will be closed to the public until further notice.

Anyone experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty breathing should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident and Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority. The direct phone number for people experiencing respiratory issues due to smoke is 244-2945.

CNS reached has reached out to the ministry to ask when the remediation, which was due to begin at the start of this year, will actually get underway and when government expects to formalise a contract with DECCO some two and a half years after selecting them as the preferred bidder. But officials have still not answered our questions, stating that the ministry is too busy dealing with coronavirus to address our enquiry.

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Category: Local News

Comments (164)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Eden. It appears that God is angry that your friend Bush is on a paid vacation instead of arrested and in jail. Thank you from the hundreds of people that are now paying for it.

  2. Out of many one recycled PET bottle says:

    Rethink, reuse, recycle, repurpose & restore the island’s former glory. Time to finally phase out styrofoam containers (sorry DART corp) and look at implementing sustainable alternatives. Obviously legislation should drive environmental change but if the infrastructure and service model is available, people will follow and sort their garbage. Let this be a tipping point for Mount Trashmore and an opportunity for Cayman to claim environmental leadership in the region.

    • Anonymous says:

      time to stop using tires on our cars….!

    • Anonymous says:

      Time to finally…time to finally.,. Time to finally…..
      This have been said million times already over the last 25 years about many hot issues….yet today you’re still saying: Time to finally….

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anybody heard from David White or Eugene recently? Lol

  4. CaymanStandUP says:

    Peeps hear me out.. I agree, GOVT is to blame somewhat, but we as a society and as individual families, communities and businesses need to start doing our part. We need to start sorting our garbage.

    Since the GT Landfill is already in the atrocious state that it is in, why cant we find alternate land space, say within each district where sorted garbage can be dropped off. Not a dump but a land-space where sorted garbage can be properly collected for quick send off for recycling?

    We are who elect people every 4 years to represent the change we want to see but if we don’t do our part it will sadly continue.

    Schools, Supermarkets, people are now being evacuated from their homes all because we cannot come together as a people and put our heads together and get this thing sorted once and for all.

    It doesn’t matter to me where the dump/garbage is collected. What matters to me is that we start to do what is necessary to make a change and to continue it. We are a reactive society and we need to be PROACTIVE. We have allowed ourselves to be sold out for the almighty dollar and that same dollar cannot help us now in our time of need.

    Everything is being affected especially the roads, and yet we continue to allow 100 plus cars to be imported every day. When are we going to wake up as a nation and put our foot down and start holding people accountable. Lets stop finding someone to blame and GET ON WITH IT.

    Plastics/ Cardboard/ Paper/ Sanitary/ Combustible/ Batteries/Car Oil/ Tires/Aluminum etc lets start sorting it and dropping it off or have it collected to a segregated land space within our individual districts and stop adding to the Landfill. Right now the landfill cannot take one more bag!!!!

    When you go to a dance in Jamaica, the little kids come and take the bottles once you are finished or the adults who clean up after the parties recycle all of the Guinness and other beer bottles. Even the bottled Pepsi they recycle. why cant we do the same? I have always wondered why we cant reach out to these big conglomerate companies like Pepsi/ Coca Cola and as a country say to them we want to recycle, lets partner and find creative ways to do this with your companies.

    The Port is of no importance, the GT Landfill is and has been for many many ,many years. All of these big monstrosity properties shouldn’t have plans approved unless they have a proper environmental impact plan and strategy for the garbage they create on their own property’s.. we are becoming the south beach of the Caribbean. Its like a concrete jungle everywhere you turn, buildings, buildings, buildings. you can hardly find a lil beach spot to pull up at lunch time to eat because its all GONE.

    Pagent Beach should have been for US as a country. We could have had our own GOVT owned public beach with a PROPER craft market for Caymanian owned craft sellers and taxi/tour operators. Tourists love us for who we are not who these people are trying to make us BE. we don’t need to build no attractions ( i mean we could use a lil water park or something for the kids) but one a whole, people love us for our culture (whats left of it) our food, our beaches etc. We need to find a way to take back what is rightfully ours.

    When a caymanian has a business idea they get shot down, but make a Caucasian person with money come along, they get whatever they want. I bet if it was one of them who had Mr. Bernie’s idea of the bar at Stingray City they would have got through!!!! money talks but one day that money will not save us, as we can see the landfill on fire and not one big company has come forward to put money up to try and outsource help or even bring in assistance for our firemen and policemen.

    These are just a few of my personal ideas/comments hoping you guys can add to it and see if we can get some more positive ideas flowing. I love my island and for what its worth, I know that there are other young people out there who feel the same as I do…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Two burning questions:

    1. If the dump is closed and on fire, where are they depositing the fresh garbage that was collected today?

    2. Why have there been NO definitive statements about what exactly is on fire? With previous fires, official statements have been very clear about the location of the burn. Why so vague now. Is the pile of tires on fire or not? If so, very clear and precise warnings needs to be published about the dangers of tire fires?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet everytime a tyre is purchased there is a fee of 10 dollars thats tacked on as a disposal fee!!! So do a count how many flipping tyres are there at the landfill and why thats my question! Your taking money from the people for these disposal fees yet we still have a mountain of them here. Thought the revenue collected were to get rid of them not store them at the landfill an have the catch a fire and as such, pose a health hazard.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Below is Barbara Connolly facebook response to criticism regarding making the dump a priority…

    Barbara Elizabeth Conolly. This is not the time to criticize, this is the time to pray that we get this fire under control and thank our firefighters and God that so far no one has been hurt and lives are spared. The political spin can come later. What has our Country come to?

    Can someone please let Barbara know what our country has come to?

    These Politicians never cease to amaze me..Even if we tell her do you think she will believe us?? By the way, if she and her government had spent $9M on fixing the dump instead of wasting it on the port, we would not have to be praying for their safety and ours today…just my two cents, Barbara…

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol – criticising the government for its failing to do anything about the biggest environmental threat in the country is “political spin.” But then – what did we expect? We elected Alden’s political assistant because we couldn’t stand McKeeva’s boy Mike Adam. Welcome to single member constituencies, where people like Barbara and Austin are going to be the new normal because they align with a better organised party.

    • Anonymous says:

      Barbara you are a nice lady and we know you work hard. You can’t take the credit for the good things and then pray away the bad things. All you and your progressives had to do was spend money to cover the mound. Spread some fill over it. That is simple public knowledge. Y’all didn’t see fit to spend money there which might HAVE PREVENTED this fire and now you don’t want anybody to criticise? It AIN’T an act of God, it is a RESULT of WILLFUL NEGLIGENCE and MISPLACED PRIORITIES by YOUR GOVERNMENT.

      The voters have every right to hold you accountable and criticise your government. You all chose where to spend the money.

  7. Disgusted. says:

    Hopefully Alden has finally given up on the piers project now,and can now focus his attention on the dump, something which every government since I arrived here (1969) has ignored and left to the “next lot”. The dump is a national disaster and a national disgrace and every politician over the last 5 decades should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for ignoring this festering cesspit, and instead making self preservation their No. 1 priority.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You are an idiot. The school, if we’re talking about CIS, is north of the dump. West Bay is basically due north of George Town. CIS is closer to West Bay than the dump is. That means, my unlearned friend who apparently learned nothing in school, the school is north of the dumb. Geez.

  9. Anonymous says:

    From Wikipedia, Extinguishing tire fires is difficult. The fire releases a dark, thick smoke that contains cyanide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and products of butadiene and styrene. Burning tires are heated, and, as they have a low thermal conductivity, they are difficult to cool down. Moreover, they frequently burn inside even if they are extinguished from outside, and easily reignite when hot.

    What could possibly go wrong🤔

  10. Anonymous says:

    Who would pay money to install their family in OLEA next to a mismanaged fissile dump and putrid human waste ponds?!? I wouldn’t live there if they were paying me/giving them away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet there is no smoke on the site, same can’t be said for Marbel Drive and the new Grand Hyatt farce….

  11. Anonymous says:

    Be thankful this is the dump and not one of our hotels filled with people. If nothing else, this (once again) demonstrates how poorly prepared DEH and CIFS are to manage flammable materials at the landfill, as well as anticipate and tackle accidental ignitions. It also highlights the need for proper traffic mgmt plans that include bike lanes.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What an embarrassment. All successive governments have dragged their feet on the dump and the environment. Now they claim to be busy preparing for Coronavirus which isn’t here while the dump is and has been a real and clear health issue for the past 30 years.
    A complete disaster!!

  13. JTB says:

    Still, it could be worse.

    Just imagine how bad it would have been if Alden hadn’t fixed the dump.


  14. Anonymous says:

    I think the retardant is blowing into the legislative assembly.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Our government has wasted so much money on police, EMTs, and firefighters. If only we had an army!


  16. Anonymous says:

    Disgusting. Let’s focus on supporting women abusers and pushing to destroy our environment with a cruise ship port and destroying Smith Cove that no one wants … Government needs to get its priorities in order and get this issue fixed now !


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