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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Tobago

New $800k budget for Scarborough fire station

No repair work in eight months

The Scarborough fire station which was damaged by fire on April 14.  - DAVID REID
The Scarborough fire station which was damaged by fire on April 14. - DAVID REID

A new $800,000 budget has been set to repair the damaged Scarborough fire station – four times the figure initially put forward by acting assistant chief fire officer Ramdeo Boodoo in August.

The Tobago fire division is now awaiting budget approval from the Ministry of National Security to begin repair work, after the station was badly damaged by fire on April 14.

Boodoo said in August work was expected to begin that month and was supposed to be completed within two weeks.

He said the repairs would cost less than $200,000, all the materials were available and the army would assist.

Since fire gutted the upper part of the building, officers were temporarily relocated to Crown Point Fire Station. In three weeks they will shift to a building in Carnbee which previously housed the Old Grange Police Station.

Contacted for an update on Thursday, Tobago Fire Service PRO David Thomas said repair work at the old fire station had not materialised. He said restoration is expected to begin in a month once the budget is approved.

Thomas said neither he nor the head of the division was in Tobago when initial plans to complete repairs in two weeks were made and a $200,000 budget set.

He said the Tobago division met with a Ministry of National Security official and a representative from the Office of the Prime Minister and only now, final documentation is being processed.

“As soon as we have the final clearance for the funding we will start work on the Scarborough fire station. So within the coming weeks, there will be some activity taking place,” he said.

Asked about the previous budget and timeline for repairs, Thomas said he could not shed light on them as he was on leave then.

"I prefer to stay away from the controversial part of it because I wasn’t here. When I came, I inherited a situation and we have done what was needed to rectify it. We are moving forward.

“There were some unhappy situations in which we would have ventilated and established new structures so that we are heading in a direction now, where we expect better results.”Approximately 35 per cent of the fire station, in Bacolet, was destroyed in the fire, with the dormitories most affected. There was also water and smoke damage throughout the building from the fire-fighting operations.

There was also a smaller fire at the station several months ago, according to president of the Fire Services Association Leo Ramkissoon.

Speaking to Newsday days after the fire Ramkissoon said he wasn’t shocked, as fire officers had complained about electrical issues several times. An investigation revealed the electrical wiring of an air conditioning unit started the blaze.

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