Cooks Sanitary Landfill fire scorches three acres of wasteland
Friday’s fire at Cooks Sanitary Landfill has caused a setback at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) which suffered the loss of a year’s worth of shredded tyres and scrap metal from more than 200 derelict vehicles.
“All the area that was cut off became completely engulfed in flames and we lost everything in there and that would include all the shredded tires that we shredded through in excess of a year,” said General Manager Daryl Spencer.
The metal is compressed and exported while the shredded tyres were the by-product of thousands of used tyres that had filled the landfill over time.
The tires made it easy for the fire to spread and affected around three acres, according to Spencer.
It was also difficult to extinguish – an effort that lasted into Saturday. Spencer said foam had to be used to help extinguish the blaze since water could not sufficiently do the job.
Firefighters from the All Saints, St John’s and Coolidge fire stations all responded to the blaze which Fire Chief Elvis Weaver said lasted five hours.
He said the officers were aided by two corporate citizens who arrived with water trucks to help the firemen and personnel at the authority.
“Once the blaze was under control, it was the responsibility of the authority now to carry proper landfill management,” Spencer added.
The NSWMA used additional heavy duty equipment to mine soil to control the flames late into Friday night and separated the debris to cut the fire off.
A number of residents in Five Islands may have also been affected by the thick blanket of smoke, though Spencer said he has not yet received any official report.
“That is something that we cannot rule out because a tyre fire is actually toxic plume,” he said.
Landfill fire scorches up to three acres of wasteland Antigua Observer