By Shermain Bique-Charles
Government has been under intense public pressure over a lack of adequate fire trucks to put out massive blazes, like the one in Greenbay on Monday which destroyed four homes and is believed to have killed one resident.
But with an additional vehicle to add to the fleet, Fire Chief Elvis Weaver hopes that citizens’ concerns will be quelled.
Yesterday, developers behind the Peace, Love and Happiness project in Barbuda donated a fire truck said to be worth almost EC$300,000 to St John’s Fire Station.
Weaver said the new truck is timely – and that three more trucks are expected to arrive soon.
“We had a very disastrous fire in Gray’s Farm and we are happy that we have been given this fire tender. We have been taking a lot of stick lately but we are very committed to serving the people,” Weaver said at Wednesday’s handing-over ceremony.
Three additional trucks are expected to arrive from England this year, two in August and the other in September.
“I have been saying this for the past years and the government has heard our cries. This should take care of our needs,” Weaver added.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Everton Jeffers said he expects the service to work more efficiently with the new vehicle.
“I realise that for some time we were without trucks; today we have now gotten another fire truck which should make the Fire Department a more efficient one,” he said.
But Jeffers added that if the service is to reach its pinnacle in effective firefighting, then one fire truck is not going to do it.
“We need to have the complement that we need in order to take care of Antigua and Barbuda,” Jeffers said.
The truck is not brand new but PLH’s Fire Paramedic Chief Lee Sagert said it is in perfect working condition and capable of carrying a large supply of water.
“We have been waiting so long for a truck that carries 1,000 gallons of water and this truck carries a 1,260 gallon-a-minute pump,” he said, adding that its capacity was on a par with fire trucks seen in large US cities.