Three fire trucks valuing an approximate total of a quarter million dollars are on their way to the British Virgin Islands and should arrive in three months.
The Ministry of Communications and Works said they placed the purchase order last week; days before the parliamentary opposition criticised government for the insufficient amount of equipment available to the local fire department.
The ministry said the trucks will be distributed to stations on Tortola as well as Virgin Gorda.
“These equipment were actually in train since the last quarter of last year but, of course, we had delays with all the disasters. It’s been a while but we were just able to identify the funding again and place the order … For the three of them, there is a total cost of about $230,000, ” said Deputy Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Jeremy Hodge.
He said the ministry will also be opening a tendering process for restoration works to be done to the hurricane-battered fire station headquarters in Road Town.
Roughly half-million worth of repairs is projected to be carried out on the building.
“They will be getting more equipment but we are supposed to get a list of needs from the fire service,” Hodge told BVI News.
Fresh discussions about the insufficient equipment surfaced after the major fire at VI Motors gas station in Duff’s Bottom. As a precaution, the fire unit based at the TB Lettsome International Airport was dispatched to the scene; rendering the airport temporarily closed.
The airport’s fire truck was deployed to the location because of its capability to pump foam as a flame retardant.
While commenting on the fire department’s equipment status, Works Minister Mark Vanterpool said: “We need a lot of equipment for many things and it’s a high priority … It was something that we identified earlier so we have been moving towards that. Fire engines are things that get older and they break down and you have to keep repurchasing.”
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