Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Weekend smoke relief for citizens affected by Riverton fire

Published:Friday | August 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Stewart Beckford, acting commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade

Between today and tomorrow, persons in sections of the Corporate Area should once again enjoy fresh air, uninterrupted by heavy smoke emanating from the Riverton disposal site in St Andrew, according to Acting Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade Stewart Beckford.

At the same time, plans are being made to use members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force, supported by private security, to eliminate security breaches at Riverton and other waste-disposal sites.

"By the weekend, people should be able to breathe clear air. We are confident that we can do that," Beckford told The Gleaner yesterday. "There may still be a little smoke but not to the magnitude that would affect those in Washington Gardens and up Washington Boulevard. We envision that between now and weekend, smoke should no longer be a bother to residents and passing motorists," he added.

Beckford continued: "Operations are ongoing. Most of what is happening now is that we are using dirt to continue covering the fire. We have two D9 tractors and two front-end loaders, and10 tipper trucks on site that are making trips with dirt to cover the area. We have two fire units with approximately 15 personnel now. Smoke nuisance has been reduced significantly."

Beckford explained that the challenge existed with areas already extinguished breaking back out into fire.

"On Wednesday ... we had a situation where a section on the dump that was already covered, opened up again. It is like a coal kiln with tremendous heat underneath," he said. "The volume of smoke that has been generated at Riverton is caused by a lot of plastic on site. It is very difficult to use water to put the fire out."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com