Ongoing efforts to reduce the excess of 70 feet of metal at B’s Recycling will not reduce the possibility of combustion, but it will increase the ability of officials to manage or fight a possible fire.
Chief Fire Officer of the Barbados Fire Service (BFS), Errol Maynard, who was speaking during a virtual press conference last evening with Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, to update the public on what was happening with the facility, explained: “What we are trying to do is ensure that if it (combustion) does occur, we can manage it and manage it properly, because once there is fuel available there is the possibility of combustion.”
He added that ongoing work at the plant, since April 26, had seen mitigation measures being implemented to better manage the situation in the event of a fire.
B’s Recycling was served notice under the Health Service Regulations on April 22, and its Manager, Paul Bynoe, ordered to clean-up the premises within 21 days of the notice.
This follows reports dated back to 2019 from the Chief Fire Officer about the state of the facility and the potential fire and environmental hazards posed by its current condition.
Under the present order, B’s Recycling has been ordered to:
- Halt the acceptance of all material to the site.
- Remove all material from the perimeter of the site, allowing for equipment access and fire mitigation measures.
- Remove and dispose of all materials from the entire site identified by the Minister of Health as necessary to be removed to the satisfaction of the Minister of Health.
- Divide the metal heap into a minimum of five piles, 15 feet apart and a maximum height of 2.5 metres.
- Implement a vector control programme to reduce vector population to acceptable levels, and prevent the dispersal of vectors into nearby communities.
- Assess the impact of the operation, and mitigate all environmental impacts to the satisfaction of the Minister of Health.
This relocation and remediation exercise is being managed by Leona Deane of the Sanitation Service Authority, who is working with the Chief Fire Officer to bring the situation under control.
“The objective of reducing the high level of the piles and removing the combustible materials is to make it safe and to reduce the impact of any incident of fire at the location,” Mr. Abrahams stated.
He added that under the current operation, the BFS was using infrared and heat detecting imagery to verify that there was no combustion going on at the site.
“This is a case where we did not want to wait for any combustion. We decided to act, so if combustion did happen, it could be brought under control. If that pile had started to burn, there would have been no way to get to the middle of the pile. We would have just simply had to let it burn out until it stopped. That was a situation that was not acceptable to myself, Government or the Chief Fire Officer,” he explained.
Mr. Abrahams reiterated that while B’s Recycling remained opened to receive plastic and card for recycling, an order was given that it was not to receive any more metal.