Cause of fire at landfill under investigation; residents in surrounding area asked to exercise caution

Shot of the blaze taken in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Photo credit: Brent Williams

While fire officials along with management of the Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation (DSWC) have expressed relief that a fire which started at the landfill in Fond Cole on Tuesday has been brought under control, an investigation has since been launched into the cause of the blaze.

Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Letang, told Dominica News Online (DNO) that on the morning of Tuesday January 18, 2022, at about 1:30 a.m, the Fire and Ambulance Services responded to a fire call at the landfill.

Though Letang reported no injuries, he said more than 24 hours since the initial report, the fire department is still continuing in its efforts to extinguish the blaze which has been controlled with the assistance of DSWC employees.

Scene sometime after day break. Photo credit: Brent Williams

Residents of the Goodwill, Tarish Pit, Stockfarm, Yam Piece,  Fond Cole and other surrounding areas with asthmatic/respiratory issues are asked to use a mask or remain indoors as much as possible as the smoke could be harmful to them.

Letang also sounded an appeal to people who reside in these areas to limit the burning of their waste as this has been suspected as a possible cause of the fire.

Meantime, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the DSWC, Rhoda St. John-Elwin, who also spoke to DNO, issued an apology to residents in the Fond Cole, Stockfarm and surrounding communities who have been impacted by the fire.

“The Corporation apologizes for the inconvenience caused as a result of the fire at the Sanitary Landfill over the past two days. We are working diligently to contain and control the situation in order to minimize the level of inconvenience to those who are being affected. We ask for your understanding and patience as we continue working to efficiently manage this situation.”

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  1. Jonathan Y St Jean
    January 21, 2022

    Because of the location of the landfill anytime there is a fire the smoke affects the residents of the surrounding communities of Fond Cole, Stock Farm and Goodwill. Also important institutions like the port, the businesses on Goodwill road, the Community college and the main hospital are adversely affected by the smoke and God knows what it contains. It’s time for the lazy government to effect moving the landfill and stop the empty promises of moving it to another location. I can think of a solution that involves getting Dominicans to separate their refuse into what’s compostable and those should be brought to a landfill and composted which can then be sold for agriculture use to raise funds, the rest can be taken to another location where things which are salvageable and can be recycled are separated from other stuff. At the moment there isn’t any revenue being made from the current arrangement to help fund the waste management and disposal in the country.

  2. Look joke
    January 20, 2022

    Nature island with no serious recycling plant, a dump site is waste disposal with no ventilation for methane, no methane treatment plant, no sewage treatment plant. I could go on but you know what, Dominica is the island of sewo, that’s all that takes priority here, sewo and making politicians rich. You all voted for this, take what you get.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  3. Stock Farm Bellevue Rawle Fond Cole
    January 19, 2022

    On top of the covid mask, we cannot even breathe fresh air? Why should we the resident of the landfill area, be subjected to this over and over again even after having inhaled the stench sometimes.

    Who is taking up our cause? So no fresh air for us then. We now have to sleep with masks. Why O why?

    Oxygen is important for the body and now it seems we living in the area have to wear masks forever to compromise our lungs etc., We need subsidies for lung protection. We are not even free at our own home. What is that boy?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
  4. L C Matthew
    January 19, 2022

    Ok folks here is a little insight. Most rotting organic material create methane gas. Methane gas is flammable. Most carefully designed landfills are fitted with vent pipes through which methane gas is pumped and burned of or collected and compressed and use to power small electric generators or vehicles. This will continue to happen in the area once methane builds up and all it takes is sunlight concentrated to a point by a piece of glass or a lightning strike or a static charge to ignite. If the landfill is not vented properly as material begins to decompose over time this will happen. For a 70k population waste dispose at landfill can generate enough methane in 3 years to be useful. In this day and age this is the kind of stuff a country like ours should be developing. Forward thinking waste management strategies and using the grey matter in those tet calabash. A few more years with enough methane build up it will ignite and burn again.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0
    • SN
      January 21, 2022

      Additionally, to your point, chemical dregs in containers (e.g. bleach) disposed in garbage can combine to cause fires.

  5. Jey Jey
    January 19, 2022

    So what is a landfill doing in close proximity to a residential area? This is madnesses. Are there any “environmentalists” on the Island? I have no words sufficient enough to classify this recklessness. “Sweet Dominica.” I guessed the residents have no idea what a landfill is for and the amount of different toxins which are being dumped there. They should file a lawsuit to have this landfill decommissioned without delay citing health issues.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  6. Pipo
    January 19, 2022

    The nature of the fire makes me suspect that plastics and rubber continue to be incinerated there. These materials are notorious for releasing toxic gases and pcb’s that not only affect one’s breathing but can cause cancer. I hope we are not continuing to burn old tyres in that place. They are particularly noxious and such a habit only undermines our avowed aim to be sustainable and environment friendly. It makes a joke of such lofty ideals,endangers public health and is a poor advertisement for our island.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0
    • Mr King
      January 20, 2022

      They were burning tires .. you could smell the toxicity in the air .. and they acting like they dont know what happened .. Only in dominica .. another country somebody lose thier job .. even the manager have to step down ..Couple lawsuits would be out

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

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