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Firefighting efforts in trouble; 1 out of 3 stations opened on Tortola

- Lack of staff, requisite equipment forced closure, according to Zebalon A. McLean’s testimony before the Standing Finance Committee
Road Town Fire Station: Due to the lack of trucks, it is the only operational fire station on Tortola. Photo: VINO/File
Chief Fire Officer Mr Zebalon A. McLean told the members of the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee on the 2017 Budget that his Department is in urgent need of manpower and trucks. Photo: VINO/File
Chief Fire Officer Mr Zebalon A. McLean told the members of the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee on the 2017 Budget that his Department is in urgent need of manpower and trucks. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The fall out because of lack of government funding and priorities in spending continues to be felt in some critical safety areas.

While testifying before the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee on the 2017 Budget, Chief Fire Officer in the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Services, Mr Zebalon A. McLean told the members that his Department is in urgent need of manpower and trucks.

He told the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) of the whole House that “five of the trucks had passed their useful life,” and a new truck (firefighting appliance) had been commissioned in January 2016.

1 out of 3 Fire Stations in operation on Tortola

In addition, because of the lack of trucks, Mr McLean told the body that on Tortola for example there are three fire stations in the following locations: Road Town, Greenland and Cappoon’s Bay; however, only Road Town's was in operation.

To this, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA) and the Member for the Fifth District Hon Delores Christopher asked for the reasons. The Fire Chief said “it is due to a lack of the requisite equipment.”

Mr McLean added once this is addressed, “they would be re-opened.” The Chief Fire Officer indicated that to have a full operation he will need 75 officers, but at this time he only has 58. Out of that number there are 2 assigned to Anegada, 6 on Virgin Gorda, 2 on Jost van Dyke and 48 on Tortola.

The Fire Services Department comes under the Ministry of Communications and Works and provides a vital service during fires, auto accidents and other general emergencies.

34 Responses to “Firefighting efforts in trouble; 1 out of 3 stations opened on Tortola”

  • Grumpy (05/03/2017, 19:08) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    Something has got to give. The sooner, the better.
    • @ Grumpy (05/03/2017, 19:36) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Voter's remorse, Mr. Grumpy?
    • Mysery (05/03/2017, 23:00) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
      I find it insane that the fire department, that is a vital part of people's lives and property being saved, is lacking the necessary equipment that is needed to be in operation. Road town fire department cannot get around the entire island when time is of the essence. Someone in government need to use common sense in this matter, stop lining their pockets due to greed, and give our territory what it needs. This has been the lowest our territory has been and I for one am totally sick of the under handed deeds that have made our beautiful home a living HELL.
      • Nadeeen (09/03/2017, 02:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        HOW in the world do you have only one operating fire department for the entire territory? Mr. "Our economy is Robust" must be living on another planet!
  • Concerned (05/03/2017, 19:12) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    When is the next elections? the sooner we can end this terrible shame on our country, the better maybe it might be for my property could be next to burn.
    • SMH (06/03/2017, 07:35) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      This present Council needs to be dissolved on account that the Government is failing the People of this Territory. These Officials were elected to work for the people in terms of providing or taking the necessary measures needed in protecting and grooming our economy in the best interest of our people. They have failed on all Accounts and needs to be removed!
  • guth boys (05/03/2017, 19:14) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Miss Deloris
    Now you're trying to be a "stand up person" ?
    A Day Late and a Dollar Short
    But Thanks for the effort nonetheless
  • Geenland (05/03/2017, 19:22) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Malone and Kedrick, we're looking at YOU. This has gone on long enough.
  • my view (05/03/2017, 19:23) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just when I think things can't get more surreal, they do. By the day.

    It's going to be a very exhausting 3 years to go!!!
  • It's burning (05/03/2017, 19:25) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can't keep police stations or fire stations open and operational. Sewage running in the street. Blackouts. Street water leaking everywhere. Schools run down. But plenty of money for the Oil Nut Bay, I mean the TB Lettsome Airport expansion. When,when will the people of this rock realize just how they are ignored to kowtow to the rich?????
  • tash (05/03/2017, 20:10) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Those officials who are taking government funds for their personal use and their campaigns, should be arrested and jailed. They are jeopardizing the entire society.
  • Citizen (05/03/2017, 20:13) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where our propriety lies? Just asking
  • Eyes open (05/03/2017, 20:14) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    I closed my eyes and open it again. O Lord Jesus look what our BBK come to . It gone to the dogs on some NY levels
    Our roads
    Police stations
    Fire stations
    Our young people
    Access to our beaches
    Lack of jobs for our people
    Our health care
    I can go on and on
    Lord have mercy....
  • henry (05/03/2017, 21:48) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    the fire station it self is in urgent need of repairs .problems all over in roadtown
    • Just saying (07/03/2017, 08:00) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      The money the fire office charging us to tint our vehicle in the east end station, should be used to help pay for repairs.
  • facts man (05/03/2017, 22:25) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    The ndp would not be allowed to spin what they did to our country next election
  • I'm mad (05/03/2017, 23:23) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    How could the politicians allow this to happen? Fire fighting equipment is a must. I recommend the insurance companies them get together and meet with the Ministry because is all our business if there is a fire and we will have to pay increase insurance money.
  • wize up (06/03/2017, 00:01) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ open your eyes: we gave you a new beach; 2 planes & working on a new airport(what more do you want)
  • Grumpy (06/03/2017, 07:15) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    As many others have said in comments this is awful!!! All these Ministers can think about is the airport. What if all goes as they say (it will not) and all those tourists flock her? Roads, sewers, water, Hospital, POLICE, parking, obligations that cannot/will not be paid for. This country is showing the world how stupid it is. By the way, the East End/Greenland station is being used as a garage to fix & repair vehicles!!!!
  • ... (06/03/2017, 08:31) Like (2) Dislike (12) Reply
    Capoon's Bay does not need a Fire Station.
  • Healthcare Boss (06/03/2017, 09:08) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Me!! Me !!! Teacher, I know the answer to all these problems, stop criminalizing our young people allow them to smoke a joint, let's cloud their minds, they wouldn't know who to vote for next election.
  • voiceofthevoiceless (06/03/2017, 09:44) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    The economy robust they say yet our infrastructure is crippling. So why not take 150million and expand the airport that should solve our infrastructure problem. Imagine if there is a 737 crash landing at the airport what mayhem that would cost with a poorly manned and equipped fire service?

    There is a major disconnect between the Premier/Deputy/MVW/MV and the People and that is why several of the backbenchers and a Minister had to say not now for the airport as they are hearing the cries of their many constituents. The Premier and his followers live in an alternate robust universe from the majority of the people.
  • concern (06/03/2017, 11:22) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Maybe I don't understand the math - but he said their is 48 in Tortola but only 1 station open. So why one station has 48 offices when VG station has 6 and is more than capable of doing the job. I can see shortage of trucks but man power doesn't make sense.
  • wize up (06/03/2017, 11:39) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    who is responsible for the maintenance of our buildings; we are good at building stuff but maintaining them is another story: it usually takes some time for buildings to fall into a state of disrepair so the occupant of these structures also full of $&i!:
    • Shush (06/03/2017, 17:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      The occupants are government workers. You're saying they should take the money out their own pockets? Say that isn't what you meant?
      • wize up (06/03/2017, 18:24) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
        @ shush: you got jokes!!!! can someone ensure that schedule maintenance is conducted therefore the buildings won't get into such a state of disrepair(it is more cost effective to maintain than rebuild).....
  • resident (06/03/2017, 12:25) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    And you all think a different govt will be any better? Wise up! Everybody just want to fill their pockets! Same song different tune! Politicians tell you what you want to hear and when they get in - Ha!
  • So (06/03/2017, 12:32) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    This destruction happened overnight? Tell us how they were during Vip. Zero maintenance during VIP on top of which VIP did zero to move the place forward with projects to enhance the economy and employment. I recall a police station was literally inhabitable due to the neglect and the evident misappropriation of funds allotted in that district.
    NDP inherited a country of rubbles which they are addressing albeit piecemeal as they are simultaneously introducing innovative and necessary means to boost the economy and employment opportunities.
  • **Correction (06/03/2017, 15:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    ...Literally uninhabitable...
  • ann (06/03/2017, 20:24) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Forcing our people out, making them hunker down, is grossly counter productive.
  • rattie (07/03/2017, 22:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This system is broken - and nothing the Government offered will fix it.
  • cnn (08/03/2017, 12:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The party of no is learning that maybe probably offers a better chance but we can only hope


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