Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Toxic blaze near Riverton City dump

Published:Monday | April 13, 2015 | 8:24 PMRyon Jones
A fireman assists a resident remove furniture yesterday as a fire raged at the premises nearby the Riverton City dump where old tyres are stored.

Residents of the Corporate Area were given a serious scare yesterday morning, as thick, black smoke was seeing coming from in the vicinity of the Riverton City dump, raising fears that the landfill was ablaze yet again. It, however, turned out to be a storage area for discarded tyres located at Westbrook Avenue in the Riverton City community.

The fire, which was noticed around

6 a.m., affected a house close by, forcing a family of five, including a five-year-old boy, to evacuate. The house was saved by the firefighters, who were commended for their quick response with six units, comprising 32 members, reporting to the scene. One of the firefighters received burns to his hand and was transported to Apex Medical Centre for treatment.

Sean Martin, officer in charge of the Kingston and St Andrew Fire Brigade, pointed out that the nature of the fire made it extremely difficult to extinguish, plus the harm posed by the "very toxic fumes that you don't necessarily want to inhale, and it is very flammable, so it is very intense".

risk to residents

Martin warned that the numerous tyres located in several piles across the community needed to be urgently removed or there would be even greater damage.

"We have recommended on several occasions that these tyres not be stockpiled here," Martin told The Gleaner. "It poses a risk to residents, poses a risk to the businesses in the area. This is not a suitable location for them to be stored. Here we have a fire burning out of control and tyres are stockpiled right across the area. They need to find a way to get rid of the tyres in the area, and this has to be done, because it is not safe for the residents nor the businesses."

Persons on the ground told the Gleaner team that some of the tyres stocked in the area were placed there by community members, as the intention was to recycle them, but this plan has been stalled for years.

Clarie Smith, who is the owner of the affected house, revealed that she had just last week paid a visit to councillor for the area, Hazel Anderson, because she sensed the possible danger.

"I spoke to the councillor last week and told her about the tyres and told her that if fire gets away over there, I am going to be burned out, because I am close to the tyres," Smith, who has lived there for the past 10 years, disclosed.

But Richard Walters, who works close by, contends that members of the community have been lobbying for the tyres to be removed for some time, as they have proven an ideal breeding place for mosquitoes.