JIS News

The work of the Jamaica Fire Brigade(JFB), in Kingston, has been bolstered with the addition of a new truck donated by the Turkish government.
The truck, valued at US$500,000, was today (March 24) handed over by Turkey’s non-resident Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Kaydriye Kizildeli, at the office of the Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Kingston.
The fire engine red Renault truck is able to transport over 4, 000 litres of water. Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Turkey, Arnold Foote, said a French engineer will arrive in the island shortly to train officers of the fire brigade on its use.
Mr. Foote said he requested the gift from the Turkish government, after witnessing many instances in which lives and property were lost because of a shortage of fire trucks in the island.
“Many promising lives were cut short by flames that could have been doused with a fire truck that was accessible. The pain of seeing one too many innocent children die in house fires prompted me to act,” he said.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Robert Montague, who represented the Government, said the gift was very timely and would support the modernisation of the fire brigade.
He noted that the fire service responded to 2, 259 calls in the first two months of the year. He said five persons have lost their lives in fires since the start of the year, 18 have been injured and 304 persons left homeless.
Mr. Montague added that, although economic concerns will reduce the modernization of the Jamaica Fire Brigade to a phased basis, there are several initiatives which will soon come on stream.
He disclosed that the government is working towards construction of a regional training school at Twickenham Park, St Catherine. Two contracts have been issued for fencing and construction of access roads, and the government is aiming to have the first phase of the school completed by September.
“The facility will include dormitories, training ground, drill area, classrooms and will be able to accommodate approximately 100 trainees,” Mr. Montague added.
Other projects being undertaken, include the construction of a fire station in Montego Bay, St James; renovation of the Santa Cruz fire station in St Elizabeth; and the setting up of a new headquarters for the fire brigade on Hagley Park Road, St Andrew. The headquarters is expected to be completed by July.

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