Smoke clears as dump fire under control

| 11/03/2020 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service
George Town dump, 11 March 2020

(CNS): Firefighters are now working towards finally extinguishing the current landfill fire after working persistently for the last four days to bring the blaze under control and systematically tackle the emerging hot spots and flare ups. At 4pm Wednesday officials said that the fire service crews as well as staff from the Department of Environmental Health had been successful in bringing the fire under control.

The National Roads Authority has also joined the battle by providing operational vehicle support. To tackle the fire, crews have taken a systematic approach of excavation and damping down. Once an area is doused, it is then capped to reduce the chance of re-ignition.

But officials warned that once hot spots are exposed through excavation, there may be flares of smoke, though this evening the sky above the dump was very clear as a result of the number of areas that have now been capped. When smoke does emerge, firefighters are there to reduce it as quickly as possible. Smoke density will nevertheless vary as crews work through the process.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker said residents of Lakeside Appartments, Watlers Road and the immediate vicinity of the landfill site are still advised to keep windows, doors and air conditioning vents closed as a precaution.

The DEH said that once the fire has been fully extinguished, it will shift its focus to begin testing air quality in the area at the public’s request.

Although the department does not have the necessary equipment to measure the toxins that have been released into the atmosphere as a result of this latest fire, the tests can measure levels of CO and CO2, which can be present in the air even after the fire has been extinguished. The tests cannot be done until after the fire is put out due to the sensitivity of the equipment.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    So the fire is almost out, unlike the envronmental minister! Maybe we can see more, but shouldn’t Mr Seymour step down now, seriously?

    • Anonymous says:

      caymanians don’t do resignations and the civil service doesn’t do sackings.
      welcome to wonderland.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hate to inform you but its still smoking! Emitting toxic fumes!

    • Anonymous says:

      I was at Kirk Market at 10:30 am today (Thursday) and there was still smoke lingering in the air.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The trash problem in Cayman and the fires at the dump has never been under control and never will be under control with theses clowns running the show!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Much respect for the firefighters. I know that had to be rough.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why the hell do we not have the necessary equipment to measure the toxins that have been released into the atmosphere. My guess is the Politicians do not want do not know. They are afraid that the results will be so bad the people will revolt against them. So, if they do not test we can not find out and the the people can remain ignorant and in the dark. That is ho they work.

  6. Anonymous says:

    As if the gov’t will actually release any reports of toxic air quality!! Don’t hold your breathe… or wait, do!

    • The Duck Who Knows says:

      Air quality, we’re lucky we have the capacity to check basic water quality here.
      You really expect too much of our reactive government departments. Just stick your wet finger out the window for a few minutes. Then lick it, what does it taste like. That’s about level of equipment and expertise our illustrious DEH has. Even if someone has the equipment, they don’t want to know.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It is criminal having that school next to the toxic dump! Those air quality tests by handheld devices are a joke. That school needs to be shut down. The new dump facilities need to be set up off the new highway going east away from everyone !

    • Anonymous says:

      An organization as clever as Dart would be well aware of culpability laws and enforcement “policies” in is choosing of a location to establish his empire. Cayman? Dump? Perfect!

    • Anonymous says:

      This is exactly what a certain developer is hoping is done. Then his million dollar properties will sell while the poor pays with reduced property values and dump issues. Who cares about the poor people living east? Not The people who bought property or enroll in a school knowing fully well a dump exists just next door?

      • Anonymous says:

        What about the verrrrry rich living East? Calm down. If they do another dump and actually do it to proper codes you’ll have nothing to worry about. If you’re worried, stop electing the same dumb dumbs.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those kids are all going to get sick later in life from breathing in that crap on a daily basis and playing outside on toxic land. And yes it is toxic – micro particles are everywhere. Unbelievable this is ok in Cayman and that Government allowed this. Dart has over 600 acres in Camana Bay. The school should have been built at the other end of his land away from the dump make no mistake he put the children there as sacrificial lambs to try to get his hands on the dump. It is absolutely criminal. And when the children get sick and the lawsuits come it is Dart (and all those who work for him) and government who will have the blood on their hands and be liable criminally. Makes me sick.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are sick. Get help.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why is the school your personal problem? This is all about the dump which until now Dart had no part of. The school is fine and will continue to be one of the best of the island if not the very best. Caymanian Governments handling of the Dump past, present and future is the problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      No shut the roads down. Or maybe get Dart to build a tunnel as only he can then put the new pile on top of it. Problem solved.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget the tireless efforts and very long hours put in by the fire service personnel.
    Thank you thank you all.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We left a restaurant downtown last night as smoke smell was really bad inside and out. Won’t be dining in George Town in the near future until there is a huge improvement in air quality.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What about the toxic ashes that covered everuthing ?

    • Anonymous says:


      Exposure to toxic smoke particulates can pose a greater health risk than that of toxic mold, asbestos, or lead-based paint dust exposure. In order to restore the indoor air quality after a structure fire or wildfire, similar procedures and protocols used in mold, asbestos, and lead abatement should be employed. These steps should be taken to properly clean and restore the indoor air quality, primarily by removing the particulates rather than relying solely on treating, deodorizing, or masking them.

      Steps would include, but are not limited to:

      Having a preliminary air sample test performed to determine what types and concentrations of chemicals and particulates are present. (this is important, so chemicals used in the cleaning process don’t accidently interact with the chemicals or gases in the air, which may produce more toxic byproducts) setting up containments, wearing proper personal protective equipment, running negative air filtration with proper HEPA filters, HEPA vacuuming surfaces, deodorizing, and encapsulation of exposed surfaces, etc. Once the cleaning process is completed, an independent environmental testing company should be hired to provide testing that includes, but is not limited to:
      1) Surface dust wipe samples to test surfaces for combustion byproduct particulate matter including soot, char & ash.
      2) Surface dust wipe samples to test for the presence of metals including lithium, chromium, lead, mercury, etc.
      3) Air samples to test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and smoke particulate matter associated with burned materials, paints, glues, plastic, synthetic materials, etc.
      4) Air clearance sampling to verify that the air has been properly cleaned of toxic soot, char and ash particulate matter. An air clearance should be achieved prior to project completion and reentry of unprotected occupants.

      Without these steps, occupants could be left exposed to unseen toxins, which could lead to adverse health conditions or even death.

      • Anonymous says:

        All well and good but I’m sure you may have read yesterday the DEH has not equipment on island to take air samples.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for that. But does anyone on island offer this service to come into our homes?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Test the AIR DURING THE FIRE, after the fire, test the soil, the water, run off, plants.

    NO one cares about C02 Levels test the hundreds of thousands if not millions of chemical released.


  12. Anonymous says:

    Just window dressing, still on fire below the surface. Years of neglect coming home to roost.

  13. Trust but verify says:

    Might be a good idea to monitor this situation with thermal camera mounted on a drone. Even a handheld thermal camera in the hands of trained persons better than nothing. But I’m guessing that tech does not exist in Cayman either?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Still not eating a lettuce from Kirks or visiting my relatives on Marbel Drive.

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