Trelawny assigned another fire truck after only unit destroyed in blaze

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) Stewart Beckford says another unit has been assigned to the Falmouth Fire Station to replace the one which was destroyed by a bush fire in the parish Thursday afternoon.

“By the end of the day (yesterday) they should have a replacement,” Beckford told the Jamaica Observer yesterday afternoon.

Trelawny was left without a fire unit after the one assigned to the parish about two years ago was destroyed by a bush fire in the Georgia area of the parish, where firefighters were responding to a blaze on a farm with more than 150 heads of cattle.

Counselling was yesterday offered to the firefighters at the Falmouth Fire Station who were reportedly remained shaken following Thursday’s incident.

“The members are very distraught. We have to be doing counselling with them. The incident has affected the entire staff, especially those who were on the operation,” said Deputy Superintendent Roland Walters, divisional commander for the Trelawny Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

The firefighters’ plight started after the fire station received a call to a bush fire about 1:21 pm. Trouble started during the operation when the water ran out and the truck failed to start when the driver attempted to leave area to have the unit refilled.

By this time the out of control fire came close to the truck, which firefighters had to quickly abandoned as the blaze consumed the disabled unit, despite efforts to put it out.

The firefighters, who unsuccessfully used beaters to put out the fire reportedly, had to run for cover after the unit became engulfed with flames. No team member was hurt.

“We are fortunate, we are very fortunate. Bush fire is a serious fire; it can turn on you and you can get trapped. They could also be stampeded by the cows,” said Walters.

He said that since the start of the month, the fire brigade in the parish has been receiving up to four fires calls daily. In fact, the unit lost in the blaze Thursday was responding to it fifth call for the day.

Yesterday, Mayor of Falmouth C Junior Gager, who visited the fire scene, appealed to residents to exercise fire safety.

“It is for us as citizens to be more careful and to know that any little spark in this season can start a fire. We don’t know how this one was started but we need to do what we can to prevent any open flames that might exist,” said Gager, the chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation.

“The firefighters are hard-working individuals and they were trying their best. As a parish we ought to give support [as] their lives are in constant danger.”

A number of bush fires, said the mayor, have been “springing up all over the place”.


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