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As the government seeks to overhaul and modernize Jamaica’s fire service, the first in a number of fire stations to be built islandwide is to be constructed in Falmouth, Trelawny at a cost of $83.7 million.Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller signed contract documents with Tank Weld Limited at the Ministry’s Hagley Park Road Offices in Kingston today (September 20), for work to begin on the new station.
The Minister pointed out that construction of the fire station would serve as a prototype for other stations to be built and signalled the start of the process of rebuilding and upgrading fire stations islandwide.
“We are starting the process of rebuilding and overhauling the fire brigade, not only through infrastructure upgrade, but in building its human resource capacity through training of its staff,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
The 1,260 square metre station will replace the old fire station on Rodney Street in the parish and will accommodate 16 fire fighters per shift as well as three fire trucks and emergency management services.
Mrs. Simpson Miller informed out that the state-of-the-art building would be built with separate quarters for female fire fighters and would also be built with ramps to accommodate the disabled.
The Minister urged the contractor to try and finish the facility ahead of the scheduled 15-month completion date. “The construction work should not take that long, every day that there is a delay you deny the men and women of the Falmouth fire service of suitable facilities,” she noted.
Additionally, she urged the contractor and the Member of Parliament for the region to ensure that any extra work be given to people within the surrounding community. “Priority consideration for the workers, outside of the specialist technical areas for this project, must be given to people in the area where the station is being constructed,” she emphasized.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Northern Trelawny, Dr. Patrick Harris assured the contractor that residents in the area would co-operate, so the work could be carried out smoothly and without interference. “This is a much needed facility and we thank the Minister. We want to assure the contractor that we in Trelawny are quite warm and we will not fit people with jobs, which they are not capable of handling,” he noted.
Technical Director of the project, Patrick Wong informed that the building would be built in compliance with the latest building codes and that work would begin within the next three weeks. Other stations are to be built on Barnett Street in St. James and in Port Maria, St. Mary.