By Shermain Bique-Charles
Fire Chief Elvis Weaver has poured cold water on speculations that inadequate fire tenders caused a house in Glanvilles to be burnt to the ground on Monday.
Social media posts claimed that firefighters from All Saints station arrived in a small truck with a capacity of about 500 gallons, but it ran out of water before the blaze could be extinguished.
According to eyewitnesses, it took a while before another truck arrived but by that time nothing could be done to save the building.
It is also alleged that the only station equipped with trucks carrying more than 500 gallons of water is Coolidge Fire Station, located near the airport, but those vehicles are not allowed to move far from their base.
But Weaver said every station is equipped with least one fire truck and, although the capacity of some of these trucks is small, that does not impede the ability of the firefighters to adequately perform their duties.
“Even if you have a truck with 5,000 gallons of water, it depends on the size of the fire; the water will finish,” he said.
Addressing the allegations about the Coolidge station, Weaver said they are “pure lies”.
“There is no truth to the claim that only Coolidge Fire Station [has] trucks with over 500 gallons of water. St John’s [has] a truck that carries 2,500 gallons of water,” Weaver said.
He continued that while it would be ideal for all fire tenders to carry at least 1,000 gallons of water, until that happens “we will continue to do our best for all the people of Antigua and Barbuda. I am calling on the people who are spreading all these falsehoods on the hard-working firefighters of Antigua and Barbuda to desist from doing so”.
Weaver also took the time to offer sympathies to the woman whose house was destroyed by the fire in Glanvilles, and to everyone else who has lost a property to a blaze.
“I can assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that the men and women of the Fire Department are committed to save lives and property and will continue to perform at our optimum at all times,” he added.