Fire Chief warns against setting of indiscriminate fires
DPI, GUYANA, Friday, September 15, 2017
Persons setting fires to their lands, in an effort to clear it, has been urged to desist from such acts. This was one of the main points coming out of an interview with Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle who emphasised that the dry season is approaching. “We have these fires spreading from these areas and damaging utility poles, damaging culverts, damaging bridges, damaging fences, even damaging buildings. Just last week we had an incident where someone used fire after weeding and cleaning a compound, then set fire to the grass to destroy it and the fire spread back to the building and the building was destroyed.”
The Fire Chief said that such fires are being set on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara. He further emphasised that persons must understand that when such fires are set indiscriminately, and without concern for others, there are long-lasting effects.
Gentle pointed out that while some of the fires may not lead to the destruction of a building, there are environmental effects. Giving clarity to the issue, he noted that smoke clogging up homes also poses a serious risk to persons who are asthmatic, creating conditions that are unnecessarily intolerable.
According to Gentle, “the actions you take sometimes puts a whole community at risk, whether health wise or whether direct damages from fires so we are appealing and we are asking persons if you have to dispose of garbage, do it in the acceptable way. If you have to clear your lands, do your land clearing and desist from using fires especially in those built-up areas”.
The Chief Fire Officer said that for the year thus far, there has been a decrease in the number of calls received by the fire service to respond to fires. He noted that from January 1 to September 12, 2017, the fire service has received 1,011 reports compared to 1499 for the same period in 2016.
However, it was pointed out that there has been a six percent increase in the number of buildings destroyed by fires. Gentle said that from January 1 to September 12, 2017, sixty-five (65) buildings were destroyed by fires compared to fifty-nine (59) for the same period in 2016.
On a positive note, the Fire Chief said that the Guyana Fire Service has been able to bring their response time down to 12 minutes within a five-mile radius.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite