BVI News

Massive fire caused by garbage exposed to ‘hot ash’

Massive fire at a landfill in Pockwood Pond yesterday, January 16. (Photo provided)

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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  1. Unbelievable says:

    Negligence. Several persons need to lose their jobs. Starting with whoever developed the moronic plan to bury the known hot ash near combustibles. Idiots. Absolute idiots. Making folks sick.

  2. Soo says:

    The fume almost kill me in Long Bay. If I develop a health problem I will like to know who is responsible.

  3. Velour Track Pants says:

    Greg – I know you are trying your best; however separating rubbish in the BVI?!? For wha da man? Ayo don’t have any credible recycling program in place – not even the schools or government. This event tells me that more stringent risk management and auditing of processes needs to be implemented. Carcinogens being released into the environment (gases and heavy metals?) affect the residents and ecological environment which need protection. What is the departments’ long-term plan for this (building waste etc.) post natural disasters? Will property owners in the vicinity be compensated for loss of property/land values in this area?

  4. Moka says:

    Wow. After reading this explanation we definitely need a new manager. He does not see any safety violations in his incinertor ash handling processes. I hope he did not transfer that ash into a dump trunk and risk the ash settling on the gas tank.

    I’m not a fire expert but I know hot wood ash can cause combustion to other materials even after days.

  5. The Real Boo says:

    Lol hot ash combustible waste..this has been going on for years and no one can learn?

  6. friend says:

    Done so no need to transport

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