BVI News

Fire Department reports rise in backyard burning since curfew

The Virgin Islands Fire & Rescue Service has reported a drastic increase in backyard fires since government imposed a territorial curfew.

This is according to Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Zebalon McLean who told BVI News his department now receives at least one call per day for backyard fires.

“One thing that is unusual during this time with regards to our level of response is the fact that a lot of persons are engaging in backyard burning and this is something that we’ve always tried to discourage,” McLean stated.

“We would usually be called for control burning maybe twice a week, and now it is just about every day. Between [last] Friday and Sunday, we had seven calls,” he added.

No excuse for burning good enough

McLean said although some residents have been giving logical arguments to defend their actions, no excuse is good enough to put the lives of others in danger.

“Persons would tell us that the burning is being conducted on their private property, or they are trying to get rid of some trash … We understand all of that but the problem that continues to surface is that when you burn your smoke it usually affects somebody else,” McLean reasoned.

“We have had persons who have been living next to people who continue to burn, and it is really only a matter of time before they develop some sort of respiratory ailment that they are not going to recover from, and that is just how the body works,” the fire chief added.

He continued: “Sometimes you have persons who have asthmatic conditions who are in the homes and barely made it to nebulizers, barely made it to inhalers, barely made it to fresh air, and those are the kind of close calls we’re not going to be always to get away with, he said.”

Properly dispose of waste and refrain from burning

Backyard burning has increased at a time when residents are prohibited to leave their homes to dispose of garbage. However, government has now introduced a curbside garbage collection system during the ongoing curfew period.

McLean urged residents to adhere to the tips provided by the Department of Waste Management for the proper disposal of waste, and refrain from backyard burning.

These tips include flattening cardboard boxes and small plastic water bottles to reduce volume; rinsing all cans, bottles, eggshells and other similar waste to help reduce odour and prevent flies, and storing waste in tightly-sealed plastic bags.

During the curfew period, the Department of Waste Management will be collecting residential waste on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 am.

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  1. wha wrong wid he? says:

    The people dem bored and got plenty time on their hands..People dem cleaning up their back yards..Ayo fire man sitting down on ayo butt doing nuttin, getting fat and collecting a check foe doing nuttin

    Like 4
    Dislike 14
    • Logics says:

      You sound so stupid. No one need to be burning any trash at this time especially how everyone is home. As the chief said your neighbours might be suffering from respiratory issues that smoke would exasperate. Another scenario could be people burning things that could turn into missiles like aerosol cans and even explosives like batteries. So instead of you talking crap about Firefighters sitting on their butts, give credit to the chief and his crew for speaking on the dangers of trash burning in the villages.

      Like 10
    • REALLY says:

      So you rather there be fires and accidents just so they could get off their fat @$$es as you claim. Dont you know that’s one of the professions people dont mind sit on their rear end and still pay their salary

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  2. Garbage says:

    There was no garbage collection on Monday morning in Sea Cows Bay. Why?

    Like 2
    Dislike 3
  3. OMG says:

    REALLY, this is a problem! But it is ok for Pockwood Pond to burn and affect thousands of people at one time! I know COVID has knocked everyone for a loop but what has happened to the scrubber due here in March?

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  4. Disappointed says:

    It is an offense to be in your private home while having to struggle to breathe with the smoke coming from your next door neighbour’s property. Members of my family have suffered lung complications that have lead to having major surgeries. The persons making these stupid and negative comments need to put themselves in other people places and show some compassion. The previous statements made are not relevant and have nothing to do with the request being made of the Chief Fire Officer.

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  5. laughable says:

    don’t do as I do, do as I say. Let’s just leave the pollution for the government to do down pockwood pond. Imagine being shut in with this muck

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  6. Burning garbage says:

    Do you realize backyard burning causes cancer??

    Don’t be so ignorant and stop making yourself and your neighbours sick.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  7. Stoopid says:

    Unfortunately you can’t fix Stupid and you can’t tell Stupid what to do!

  8. Mendomon says:

    Pockwood Pond is in our backyard….maybe someone should go there and put the fire out there. Could smell it here in West End AGAIN….

  9. Mendomon says:

    Pockwood pond is still burning and that is sanctioned by the government… what’s up with that

  10. I tell ya says:

    It’s just a clear example don’t do what the system does
    For what is being done at pockwood pond without a conscience sheesh it’s only a matter of time befor the whole pond gets ignite and you head fire chief does what
    McLean go sit dung yo rassssss

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