Tyre fire triggers anger, concern, traffic delays

FIREFIGHTERS on the scene refused to speculate but residents of nearby communities where not so reticent as they alleged that the massive fire which destroyed scores of old tyres at the Cool Energy building on Spanish Town Road in St Andrew Thursday morning was the work of arsonists.

“It must be someone who light it. Nothing not there that could spark a fire in the early hours of the morning,” said one resident with nods of support from those nearby.

“And the worst thing, it burn the light post so now we nuh have light or Internet,” added the resident as he condemned the person or persons who he said, “committed such a wicked act”.

The resident pointed out that at least 11 people are employed to the company and expressed concern about when they would be able to return to their jobs.

According to Jamaica Observer sources, the blaze started about 2:00 am Thursday in a stack of tyres piled high in the front of the premises.

For hours more than 30 firefighters fought the blaze which continued smouldering even when it appeared they had the situation under control.

With a thick black cloud of smoke blanketing sections of the Corporate Area, residents of several communities complained about the nuisance they were faced with.

Scores of motorists had their commuting time extended as the police blocked off a section of Spanish Town Road, bringing traffic to a crawl as far away as Washington Boulevard and Dunrobin Avenue while Weymouth Drive was almost a parking lot for much of the morning.

With initial reports suggesting that the fire was at the Riverton dump, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) was quick to issue a denial.

“At this time, we can confirm that there is no fire at our Riverton facility. We are aware of the concerns raised in the community and we want to reassure the public that our team is actively monitoring the situation. We take fire safety and environmental stewardship seriously, and we have implemented strict protocols to prevent and respond to fire incidents at the site,” NSWMA Executive Director Audley Gordon said in a mid-morning release.

“Our dedicated staff, in coordination with the Jamaica Fire Brigade, continuously monitors the site to ensure that any potential risks are identified and mitigated promptly,” added Gordon.

Up to press time, there was no official word from the Jamaica Fire Brigade or the police on the blaze which is believed to have caused millions of dollars in damage.

The management of Cool Energy has refused to speak with the media.