Arson! - NSWMA suspects that Riverton dump was set alight twice in 24 hours yesterday
The police are probing claims that a flammable liquid substance was seen at one of two areas where a fire broke out at the Riverton City landfill yesterday.
Up to late yesterday evening, several firefighters were at the dump trying to put out the blaze, which was reportedly contained to an area of about three of the 70 acres that comprise the dump.
Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Dennis Chung, said the agency was also checking whether there were any procedural breaches in security access to the dump.
"The fact that one fire was started and put out this morning, and then by the afternoon another fire started, raises questions of deliberate action by saboteurs. I have spoken to the prime minister and he has asked the NSWMA to increase security and surveillance islandwide on the landfills," said Chung.
He added: "The fire was lit on a section of the landfill which caused it to spread. This was the only area of vulnerability - where trucks empty refuse before it is moved and covered. The positive is that it is a relatively small area, of just three acres, and is, therefore, easy to contain."
Crews from the York Park and Half-Way Tree fire stations, as well as the NSWMA response unit, were seen battling the blaze and covering the area with fire-retardant material.
According to Chung, the NSWMA has been working overtime in recent days to address illicit activities taking place at garbage-disposal facilities in St Andrew and other parishes.
He pointed to the fire at the Retirement facility in St James which has been confirmed as the work of arsonist, and the recent burring of tyres in the Riverton area.
"We worked well into the night to ensure we put out the previous blaze and now we are faced with another. These fires have now become curious, as they seem orchestrated across the island. We are working with the security forces to ensure those culpable are caught," said Chung.
He said the NSWMA would ensure additional security measures are put in place as these fires cause not only significant inconvenience to residents in surrounding communities from the smoke nuisance but also cost the country and taxpayers millions of dollars each time a fire is lit.