Fire service responds to claims over Freeport blaze, Tacarigua bush fire

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A fire officer fights remnants of a blaze. – File photo

After a fire that ravaged three homes and six vehicles in Freeport on April 14, the Fire Service (TTFS) has responded to accusations of negligence.

The fire, which broke out at Maraj Avenue off Mission Road, left three families homeless and killed a pet dog.

Of the six vehicles destroyed, the TTFS said three were abandoned and had little financial value.

In a media release on April 17, it said the fire broke out after a resident began burning trash.

It said the resident involved had not obtained a fire permit, as required by law under Section 18 of the Agricultural Fires Act. The TTFS also addressed criticisms of its response to a separate bush fire in the Paradise Gardens area of Tacarigua.

It said the fire had been reported and officers were promptly dispatched after receiving a single call, according to official records, “and not ‘numerous’ calls as suggested. Upon receipt of the call, the information provided was relayed to the Tunapuna Fire Station.”

The release said within two minutes an officer contacted the resident to ask for directions to the reported bush fire.

However, as the fire was said to be under control when firefighters arrived, no further intervention was deemed necessary.

“It was in this communication, the resident advised (such advice being carefully documented) the fire was under control and if needed, he would again contact the Fire Service.

“In those circumstances, no further action on the part of the Fire Service was deemed necessary,” the statement said.

It said no houses, properties, or domesticated animals were harmed. The TTFS urged people to remain vigilant and to obtain fire permits when necessary.