ALMOST two weeks after raging bush fires left underground tar sands and oil seepage on Heritage’s installations smoking, Point Fortin residents were able to breathe a sigh of relief – and fresh air – this week.
Point Fortin mayor Abdon Mason said through a collective effort among the TT Fire Services, the defence force, the Environmental Management Authority, (EMA), the Ministries of Energy, Works, the borough’s Disaster Management Unit and Heritage, they were able to bring the smoke under control. He said foam and fire tenders from the Mon Repos Fire station helped disperse the smoke.
Residents said the rains which came in the last few days also helped.
Mason said it took some time to bring the situation under control because it was unique.
He said firefighters were on the ground every day battling the smoke, but it was difficult to bring it under control because such chemical fires were previously handled by Heritage's predecessor company, Petrotrin.
He said Heritage does not have a fire unit at present and all the equipment from the Petrotrin fire department was handed over to the TT fire services, but without the proper authorisation to use it, andthe tenders which were handed over were not working.
Mason. who also lives in the Mahaica area. which was affected by the smoke. said it is 97 per cent under control.
He said all the stakeholders met on Wednesday at the borough, with the intention to set up a plan to treat with similar situations in the future.
“The intention is to continue the dialogue with all the agencies to put a proper response plan in place. We at the corporation would take the lead in terms of organising the discussion to put the response plan in place.
“It was a unique situation and we had to analyse our response as to how to really approach it. We are almost there and I think we would be in a better position to handle any future occurrence.”