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  • Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Errol Mowatt, says if the current resources available to the agency are maintained, the fire at the Riverton City disposal site will be extinguished by the weekend.
  • Major Davis also informed that the national emergency response mechanism is still operational, and will remain operational until the situation returns to normal.

Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Errol Mowatt, says if the current resources available to the agency are maintained, the fire at the Riverton City disposal site will be extinguished by the weekend.

At a Jamaica House press briefing, held at Jamaica House, today (March 16), Commissioner Mowatt noted that the fire department has made significant progress since the start of the fire on Wednesday, March 11.

“Since Saturday leading into yesterday the resources available to us for the operation has increased significantly, and we have made rapid progress and we are seeking to maintain the momentum that we have gained so far,” he said.

He added that a team from the Jamaica Defence Force flew over the area today, which showed a major improvement over what was seen of the area on Saturday.

“The smoke cover is still very strong, but still a lot less than what was there between Wednesday (March 10) and Saturday (March 14). Once we begin to turn the material and begin to apply water, it gives off more smoke because the fire is not in a free burning phase, it is in a smouldering phase and once it is smouldered, it is going to give off more smoke,” Mr. Mowatt said.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Major Clive Davis, noted that the agencies fighting the fire at the landfill have passed the worst.

He pointed out that the operation on the ground has been progressing at a steady and satisfactory pace.

“The fire is described as contained and is being extinguished as we speak. At the height of the blaze it is estimated that some 90 acres were on fire and it is indeed the largest fire ever seen at that facility. Based on aerial observation done today, we are now comfortable that we have passed the half mark with respect to suppressing the fire,” Major Davis said.

He also told the press briefing that the team on the ground is being supported by heavy duty equipment such as D9 and D10 earth moving vehicles, Tipper trucks and an assortment of other supporting pieces of equipment.

Major Davis also informed that the national emergency response mechanism is still operational, and will remain operational until the situation returns to normal.