A black expanse of land covered the area where the Environmental and Remedial Treatment for Hydrocarbons (EARTH) pits are located near the Guapo landfill, Point Fortin yesterday.
A raging fire engulfed the pits mere hours before, when a bush fire ignited surrounding bamboo trees spreading to holes made of concrete in the ground where bio-hazardous waste is stored for treatment.
Point Fortin mayor Abdon Mason confirmed there was no loss of life, injuries or monetary damage but could not account for the air quality.
Attempts to contact the Environmental Management Authority’s chairman Nadra Nathai Gyan were unsuccessful. Yesterday, the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) went to the scene of Tuesday’s fire. However, a source from the authority said the OSH representatives found no one on the compound to give an account of what happened. The source said calls to the company were not answered, and when they visited the Marabella office yesterday it was closed.
The OSH authority has asked the police and fire services for a report to establish the cause of the blaze and what was in place to prevent a re-occurrence. When Newsday visited yesterday, an ambulance and a fire tender with several officers were heading out of the compound.
A worker wearing a blue coverall with the EARTH logo said his boss, CEO Arnim Ramsey, was not there and he was the only person authorised to speak to the media.
Ramsey did not answer calls to his cell phone. Calls to his office also went unanswered. The inferno was visible for several miles as fire officers, supported by water tenders from the Point Fortin borough corporation and Heritage Petroleum, brought the situation under control around midnight. Although the closest residential area is about two kilometres away, officers said if the wind was stronger there could have been disastrous consequences. One truck which was parked nearby was destroyed. Representatives from the Borough’s Disaster Management Unit said the waste in the pits are usually sent by Atlantic, Heritage Petroleum Company and other companies involved in the oil industry for treatment and disposal.