Head of the Department of Waste Management, Greg Massicotte said the massive fire that was ablaze at the landfill in Pockwood Pond last evening started on its own.
Speaking with BVI News this morning, Massicotte explained that hot ash extracted from an incinerator on Tortola was dumped at the site.
Massicotte said the ash was then buried with other garbage under six to eight inches of soil.
The ash, however, came in contact with a section of decomposing waste that was inadvertently left exposed.
That is what caused the blaze, Massicotte said.
He explained: “When you have garbage decomposing, it naturally gives off methane gas especially when you have organic waste. After the incineration process, we have hot ash. We dumped this ash in the landfill as well.”
“The small section that was still exposed lit ablaze and eventually spread. That’s the explanation as to why or how the fire occurred,” Massicotte said.
He further made it clear that his department does not burn waste openly on the island of Tortola.
“We really have no need to, especially when the incinerator is up and running; which it has been since the beginning of January,” he said.
Fires not uncommon
Massicotte said spontaneous fires are known to happen at the dump occasionally.
Though noting that residents should not be blamed for the yesterday’s fire, Massicotte is urging the public to separate combustible garbage from non-combustible ones when disposing of waste at the dump.
In the meantime, persons in neighbouring communities on Tortola complained that they were affected by the fumes from yesterday’s blaze.
Residents in the neighbouring US Virgin Islands also took to social media to complain about the massive fire.
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