Fire chief wants restaurants to maintain equipment
Superintendent Dolfin Doeman, the head of the St James Fire Department, wants restaurant operators to ensure that their food-preparation equipment are properly maintained so as to minimise the possibility of gas explosions.
Doeman's warning came against the background of Wednesday's explosion at a Montego Bay-based restaurant, which resulted in three employees being injured.
"Three employees were injured, two seriously," said Doeman. "Reports are that an employee tried to light a deep-fryer and an explosion occurred, so, for that to happen, there had to have been some vapours in the environment.
"We just want persons who operate these entities to ensure that their equipment are maintained regularly by experts," continued Doeman. "Persons operating these equipment have to be very careful."
Regarding the cause of the explosion, Doeman said that investigations were still being carried out.
"The cause of that leak, or whatever it may have been that caused that vapour to be present, we are still investigating it, but for that to have occurred, there must have been some vapour, or in this case, it would have liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the environment," said Doeman. "The presence of the LPG is detected mainly by the odour, so if at any time such odour is detected, it will tell us that the vapour is present and you should not try to light anything."
In the aftermath of the explosion, Doeman set up a demonstration of accident-scene protocol, which was put on by members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade's Area Four division along Harbour Street in Montego Bay.
The demonstration was part of the Fire Brigade's celebration of Fire Safety Awareness Week, which is being held this year under the theme 'Don't Burn Carelessly: Uncontrolled Burning Brings Death and Destruction'.
As part of its week of activities in St James, the Fire Brigade also held a walk-through in the Canterbury community, conducted a graduation exercise for 34 residents of Granville who were recently trained in fire-safety awareness, and inspected business places across the parish for fire-safety compliance.
"We have continuously inspected and certified business places. For the most part, these businesses have been compliant with our recommendations," said Doeman. "Wherever we find them not complying, we will work with them to ensure that they get to the standard that is required of them, but for the most part, the business entities within the parish of St James have been compliant."