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Cloud Towers Over Baha Mar After Another Fire At Landfill

Baha Mar stands in the foreground as a tower of smoke rises behind it after the latest fire at the Harrold Road Landfill. 
Photo: Heather Carey

Baha Mar stands in the foreground as a tower of smoke rises behind it after the latest fire at the Harrold Road Landfill. Photo: Heather Carey

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

ANOTHER massive fire at the Harrold Road Landfill broke out late Sunday night, this latest blaze damaging some of Renew Bahamas’ waste management equipment, officials said yesterday.

Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen rising from the area yesterday.

Gerhard Beukes, president of Renew Bahamas, said officials are “very concerned” about the potential damage to equipment as a result of the fire. He said Renew Bahamas officials were seeking to “protect the assets and try to get the fire out as soon as possible” before performing a damage assessment.

However, Mr Beukes noted that the fire was actually not on the landfill, but on an area Renew Bahamas officials have been using as a “temporary tipping area” to divert vehicles while they prepare the top of the actual landfill that was damaged from the previous fires.

Fire Chief Walter Evans, present at the site yesterday, said the fire was “pretty much” under control and contained, but said smoke suppression could take “a couple of days” due to the number of items that are burning. However, he said “every effort” is being made jointly between Renew Bahamas and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) to “ensure that we have this fire extinguished within the shortest possible time.”

Yesterday’s fire marked the third at the dumpsite in three weeks.

According to Mr Beukes, the fire started at around 11.30pm Sunday. He said a crew, equipment and water pump were immediately mobilised in order to battle the blaze. However, he said the blaze was “aggressive” and, coupled with a “northerly wind”, managed to spread to the area “immediately next to the recycling plant.”

“Ironically there’s not a puff of smoke coming out of the landfill at the moment,” he said yesterday. “The area where the fire is at the moment is on the side of the landfill, at the foot of the landfill that we’ve been using as a temporary tipping area where we’ve diverted vehicles while we’re preparing the top of the landfill after the other fires.”

Mr Beukes could not say just what started the fire, however, but said the matter would be investigated “thoroughly” to avoid speculation.

“I think at the moment we’re just very concerned about the damage to the equipment and obviously the extreme discomfort that this will cause to the residents in surrounding areas,” he said. “So I think for now what we’re trying to do is just to make sure that we try to protect the assets and try to get the fire out as soon as possible.”

When questioned about the damage his company’s equipment sustained, he said: “We suspect that there has been some damage; we’re not too sure yet. Once we’ve got the blaze under control then we’ll be able to make an assessment.”

Supt Evans said efforts are now being made by Renew Bahamas and RBPF officials to extinguish the blaze and prevent it from spreading.

“The fire is pretty much under control, it’s already in a contained area,” Supt Evans added. “But due to the number of items which are burning, there’s a number of items which are burning deep in heaps, so we have to ensure that we are able to minimise the amount of heat and to stop the fire from going into other areas.”

Of the smoke suppression, Supt Evans said: “...That may take a couple days. It depends on the amount of heat and amount of resources that have been deployed. But every effort is being made right now jointly between Renew (Bahamas) and the Royal Bahamas Police Force to ensure that we have this fire extinguished within the shortest possible time.”

Three weeks ago, a massive fire broke out at the dumpsite, forcing some residents in nearby neighbourhoods to leave their homes and two schools to temporarily close their doors. It marked the second fire in one week at the time.

Renew Bahamas was engaged by the government in 2014 to manage the landfill and help address the recurring fires.

Comments

DonAnthony 2 years, 12 months ago

We are fast approaching becoming a failed state. This will be christie's wonderful legacy. A bankrupt, polluted country.

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John 2 years, 12 months ago

think at the moment we’re just very concerned about the damage to the equipment and obviously the extreme discomfort that this will cause to the residents in surrounding areas,” he said. “So I think for now what we’re trying to do is just to make sure that we try to protect the assets and try to get the fire out as soon as possible.”

Notice how Jack Rabbit is trying to play on the emotions of Bahamians and draw sympathy. All of a sudden they want to play victims. . Yesterday’s fire marked the third at the dumpsite in three weeks. Tell me any business in any part of the world that has three fires in three weeks and will not be suspect, be investigated, have their insurances cancelled and their business licence reviewed. Obviously these clowns, parading as solid waste manager,s are in over their heads.

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John 2 years, 12 months ago

"Says the U.S. Fire Administration:

Prevention is key to managing landfill fires, and can be achieved by engineering the landfill site with fire suppression technology, operating in a way that focuses on monitoring potential fire sources, and having tools needed to manage a fire readily available.

Landfill operators should be aware of any odor changes, changes in temperature readings, unexpected changes in the makeup of landfill gases, or changes to the chemistry of leachate. Fires are most common in the spring and summer months, between March and August with the risk peaking in July when temperatures are at their highest in many places.

In addition, meeting with fire departments regularly to keep them apprised of landfill conditions, equipment and the state of facilities can help greatly in the event of a fire, according to Larry Stone, safety director with Waste Pro.

"if you're not preplanning in advance of a fire, it's not going to be a friendly situation when they show up to your scene," Stone said at a panel on fire safety at the annual WasteCon conference late last month.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Fire Administration recommend the following methods to prevent landfill fires:

Landfill Management: Prohibit burning and smoldering waste from entering the landfill through thorough inspection of incoming waste. Prohibiting smoking on-site and having good security measures to prevent suspicious fires is also key. Methane Gas Detection and Collection: Ensure than gas collection systems are not overdrawn, and that collected gas is either flared or converted into energy. Compacting: Adequate compacting of waste ensures there is less air or methane pockets formed that could lead to subsurface fires at landfills." PRINT REPRINTS FAVORITE

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TheMadHatter 2 years, 12 months ago

Do you think it is possible that they just love the headlines? Are they starting the fire themselves just to get their names in the paper?

Perhaps the Tribune's next coverage - of the next fire, should simply read:

LANDFILL FIRE AGAIN ... and we simply refuse to print the details. Same old story. Read the last one if you're bored. END

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 12 months ago

Perry Christie and Brave Davis continue to profit handsomely from their relationship with Renew Bahamas, all the while many Bahamians are living in absolute misery as a result of the serious life threatening health issues caused by the toxic smoke produced by the dump fires. Christie and Davis know no shame!

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watcher 2 years, 12 months ago

Headline should read...."Not allowed to perform Due Diligence, hopes for Baha Mar sale up in smoke"

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