Fire Chief commends officers “for good job” on landfill fire

smoke1Fire Chief, Josiah Dupuis has commended, for “their hard work”,  fire officers who began attending to the Fond Cole Landfill fire from since 1.00 pm on Friday and throughout the night into Saturday.

The fire sent huge clouds of smoke billowing into the air and engulfing the surrounding area, including the Wood Bridge Bay Port where the Royal Princess Cruise ship was berthed. The ship had to make an early exit from the island.

“Up to this morning we have fire officers at the scene doing monitoring and management and for the most part, the fire is certainly more manageable,” Dupuis told Dominica News Online on Saturday. “I really want to commend the fire officers who were on duty and some who were off duty who came in to be of assistance to us and it really tells a story about the commitment of fire officers not just doing the job for doing it sake, but also just being committed to the ideals of our job.”

The Fire Chief also confirmed that some fire officers who were engaged at the landfill were taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital for medical examination as a precautionary measure, “being in an area like that for an extended period of time with the amount of fumes that they would have been exposed to.”

He also expressed his gratitude to several agencies such as the Office of Disaster Management (ODM), Local Government, Solid Waste Management Corporation, Environmental Health Department, the government and police, for their collaboration .

Dupuis said at the time of the interview with DNO, that the fire had been reduced to pockets.

“There is a lot less fire. In fact, reports have suggested that there are basically pockets of fire now, but as I said we continue to monitor the fire and there are a few initiatives on the way to try to deal with the pockets of fire to bring that situation to an end.”

Fire Officials responded to the landfill fire call at 12.50 pm on Friday March 13, 2014.

When DNO’s reporter, along with personnel from another media house, arrived on the scene at about 1.30 pm, we were told by a top Solid Waste Management Corporation official that they were not commenting on the matter and asked not to take any “footage” since “everything is under control.”

But that did not appear to be the case as workers could be seen piling out of the gate and calling for the presence of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health and it being Friday, requesting their wages as well.

Word on the ground was that the fire started with the burning of old mattresses by the Roseau City Council. However when DNO sought out City Council officials who were also on the scene, we were told that this is not true as it not the first time that they were bringing mattresses to the landfill and that they do not actually do any burning themselves. They argued that it was all a “cover up” and they were being used as scapegoats.

We asked Fire Chief Dupuis about the burning practices at the landfill and his response was that while there are concerns, he is now focused on bringing the landfill back to normalcy.

“I prefer at this point to focus on the situation at hand and not to comment and give recommendation about burning practices and so on. I think the most critical thing is for us to arrest the situation as it is and see if we can return the landfill to a state of normalcy,” he stated. “We have concerns obviously about burning but I would prefer not to comment on that right now and probably going forward we will be certainly be happy to engage the wider public, managers and employees of the Solid Waste on that matter.”

He said an investigation to determine the cause of the fire was ongoing and based on the assessment made thus far, the fire was being monitored and managed. He insisted that there was “nothing definitive” that the fire department could speak to at the time of his interview with DNO.

The ship leaving port on Friday afternoon
The ship leaving port on Friday afternoon

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  1. Fire Island
    March 16, 2015

    The damage has already been done. Praises to the brave firemen though the Chief seemed to have been missing in action. However, the authorities must urgently re-assess the current system of garbage collection and disposal in Dominica. Imagine Dominica may be the only country in the world where garbage is trucked in from the countryside into an densely populated urban area. At least three alternate sites must be identified and developed as district landfills in order to avoid another disaster.

  2. Doc. Love
    March 16, 2015

    The fire chief is commending his officers for a great job, the same cannot be said about Ministers of Government. I understood from a reliable source, Robie was asked to address the nation concerning that national disaster, but has refused. As far as he is concerned, that is the job of the Health Minister. According to my source, Darroux, feels all major addresses always come from Skeritt and is asking, why him. According to PJ, is so we come.

  3. Malgraysa
    March 16, 2015

    The practice of burning hazardous waste without proper control or regard to public health are well known. Toxins released by PCB’s cause permanent damage to immune systems and can be highly carcinogenic i.e. they cause cancer. Even bush fires and the habit of burning household waste/trash in our yards are dangerous to health, especially if it contains plastics, and it is high time the authorities, through their public health dept. embark on a public awareness campaign to put a stop to such practices. What happened at the waste site is totally irresponsible.

  4. March 16, 2015

    A few months ago there was a fire on a cruise ship while berthed in St. Lucia. From all reports St. Lucia was well equipped go deal with that and did a very good job to avert a major disaster. In Da it took the fire fighters well over thirty hours to bring a land fill fide under control. It leaves me wondering how equipped is the Dominica Fire Service and how would a disaster such as a cruise ship fire have been handled. Is that a priority for the DLP or are they enriching themselves as they know that this is their last term like Douglas in St. Kitts?

  5. pas
    March 15, 2015

    This is the time for the Government officials to consider relocating the Landfill to a remote site, possibly somewhere on the West coast, to minimize the health risks to residents and visitors alike.

    • Jaco Parrot
      March 16, 2015

      the people on the west coast already have to deal with the fumes in Layou.

      • Titiwi
        March 17, 2015

        Hear, hear and the disastrous effects of quarrying and another aphalt plant, right next the sea, no more fish in Colihaut.

  6. Just Thinking
    March 15, 2015

    I just hope the fire fighters had proper equipment to fight this fire, and that they were not exposed to posinous gases which could affect them later in life.

  7. purity
    March 15, 2015

    Interested Article DNO!! wOOW! To much concern is about the Cruise ship. In my view the citizens are more important some may disagree. The fire officers at the scene was brought for medical treatment at the PMH, tremendous. I don’t care about politic in this matter. Health wise the (college) Stock Farm, Fond Cole , Bellve residence and furtherly the hospital and Goodwill area are mostly effected. As this present after 10 there is still smoke coming from the land fill. ITs not the first time this has happened it need to stop. Then we cry Dominica is high in cancer.

  8. The Facts
    March 15, 2015

    Some people read into what is not stated in the article and form their opinion based on their personal comprehension which they misconstrued in the first place.
    First of all, everyone is fully aware that the firefighters did not set the fire. Their duty is to douse it and to ensure it subsides. The Fire Chief merely voiced his opinion on the status of the fire and his appreciation to the firefighters for performing a good job. They should be commended; not criticized. They deserve it.
    I read the fire commenced with burning tires; now it is stated old mattresses. All speculations? What else will be stated?
    Whoever was responsible for starting this fire should be interrogated. This is the person who knows how it commenced. It may not be the person’s fault. However, I hope that person will tell the truth.
    Thank God the fire is contained and soon will completely die out and not pose a hazard to especially residents who reside in the vicinity

  9. lol
    March 15, 2015

    What good Job…..Ou Pwii Dupwii

  10. Ideal
    March 15, 2015

    Hope they come back soon. This is not a good reflection on Dominica.

  11. Efficatious
    March 15, 2015

    What he is saying is this! you can start your fire any where and any time,with no regards for other people’s property. Smokes dirty your house and window its’s your responsibility to clean your window.Dominica is free for any body to do as they like,he is saying he would have done the same

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