Officers of the Scarborough Fire Station now have a new home, one year after fire claimed their official residence on Bacolet Street.
On April 14, 2019 fire gutted the upper part of the Bacolet station which housed the dormitory, as a result, officers were temporarily relocated to Crown Point Fire Station. However, on Monday, the officers moved into a building in Carnbee, which previously housed the Old Grange Police Station.
This was confirmed by Communications Officer in the Tobago Division, David Thomas who said that the station can be reached at 639-1000, 639-1001 as well as 639-2222.
The officers spent the weekend packing and fixing their new home to accommodate their relocation. They officially moved in on Tuesday.
Last month, Fire Services Association president Leo Ramkissoon made an appeal for the Ministry of National Security to urgently address the issues affecting officers at the Crown Point Fire Station, which he said included overcrowding, a faulty air condition system and inadequate washroom and locker room facilities.
Speaking with Newsday on Wednesday, Ramkissoon said while the new space is not ideal, it is better than their previous situation of being crammed into the Crown Point station.
“It’s a small facility, its not very big. It’s supposed to be of a temporary nature, so although its not ideal, it is better than the overcrowded situation that they were in at Crown Point.
“The overcrowding is now alleviated thereby reducing the propensity for the covid19 spread among officers,” he said.
Ramkissoon highlighted one positive out of the relocation.
“The response time to the public is going to be very much improved because they are much closer to the Scarborough area where you have the largest percentage of the population and the most amount of calls come from that area. The amount of time they would take to get to an emergency call has been very much reduced and that is a very important development.”
He said officers are still keenly awaiting their return to Scarborough.
“We want to emphasise that it is to be temporary. It means that we have a short window of time within which the Scarborough Station itself needs to be repaired and that ought to have been started a long time ago.”
The station itself should not have been burnt at all had they been listening to us. We had been telling them that there were electrical problems at that station for months before the fire. They weren’t taking heed… Now the station needs to be repaired and we hope, at least now, they would listen and start the repair work for that station.”
Previously, Ramkissoon said the association was in talks with Chief Fire Officer Marlon Smith about the refurbishment process at the Bacolet Street station. He said, “This whole thing was reduced, over time, to just getting the officers relocated.
“We could not even focus on finding out where the repairs part of the whole thing is going because the safety of the officers became the number one issue over time. Now that this situation is alleviated, now we would have to try to get more information in terms of where the have reached with actually procuring material and actually starting the repair work.” he said.
Newsday understands the fire fighters also received new personal protective gear and equipment after years of waiting.