Mon | Jan 17, 2022

15 new fire trucks here and ready to roll

Published:Tuesday | June 29, 2021 | 12:10 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Jamaica Fire Brigade is on the verge of having its fleet of trucks significantly beefed up as reports have surfaced that 15 of the 30 new units ordered by Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie have been cleared from the wharf and will soon be dispatched.

“Auditors are in the process of ensuring that all the pieces of equipment that are expected to be on the trucks are present. This will ensure that the warranty that comes with each truck will be problem-free,” a well-placed source, who is not authorised to speak on the matter, told The Gleaner.

McKenzie had, in December 2020, told the nation that the Government had earmarked funding to purchase 30 fire trucks. A new fire truck reportedly costs in the region of J$100 million.

The additional 15 trucks are expected to arrive on the island before September. The source said that the 15 trucks are now at Up Park Camp and could be officially handed over to the brigade as early as Friday.

The arrival of the trucks is welcome news for parishes like Trelawny, which recently lost a unit to a bush fire; and Westmoreland, which is currently having a challenge battling blazes in hilly terrain.

Marsha Henry-Martin, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, did not respond to questions she asked to be submitted via email.

Superintendent Roland Walters, who heads the Trelawny Fire Department, said that he is expecting at least two of the new trucks to be deployed to his region.

The single truck in the parish is a replacement tapped from another fire department after its unit was destroyed in a mid-May bush fire.

Businessman Kenneth Grant, president of the Trelawny Lay Magistrates Association, who is based in Albert Town, the main township in the parish’s south, is looking forward to the construction of a fire station in neighbouring Ulster Spring.

Lands have already been identified, The Gleaner understands.

“The current situation of a fire truck travelling all the way from Falmouth up into south Trelawny is not feasible because of the long distance, so we do need a fire station here,” said Grant.

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