BVI News

Works on decrepit fire station start Monday | $795K contract to rescue ill officers

Vanterpool displays architectural designs for the rehabilitative works that are to begin on the hurricane-ravaged fire station in Road Town. (BVI News photo)

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Immediate action is to be taken to rehabilitate the Road Town-based Virgin Islands Fire & Rescue headquarters which has been in a state of disrepair for the last 15 months; resulting in widespread health issues for fire officers stationed at the hurricane-ravaged facility.

Responding to a BVI News report on the chronic issues that have been bedevilling the fire department, portfolio minister Mark Vanterpool announced Thursday evening that works are expected to start on the facility as early as next Monday.

The Minister said Cabinet, on November 28, approved for a $795,541.62 contract to be awarded to Quality Construction Limited to conduct rehabilitation works on the fire station. That contract will be signed on Friday, December 7.

Vanterpool said rehabilitation works will be completed approximately five to six months from next week’s start date.

“We certainly will have the complete roof replaced, the offices on the top [floor] will be completely redone, and the barracks for the officers will be cleaned up and organised so that they can have better conditions over there. That’s the main things that are in the rehabilitation of the fire station,” Vanterpool told members of the media in an emergency press conference on Thursday.

Things took longer than we would have liked

“We do sincerely regret that it’s taking so long to get the fire station repaired and restored, back up-and-running, after hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. We wish that we were able to do it a lot sooner but it took some time to get things in order … We wanted to do it a lot better and a lot stronger and so it took a little more time than we would have liked,” the minister explained.

Because of the absence of a roof, the facility floods whenever it rains. These wet conditions became a breeding ground for mould and mosquitos which, in turn, led to the 32 fire officers stationed at the facility being gravely affected.

Minister Vanterpool said he was not aware of the extent to which the officers were being affected.

“We were aware of the conditions there. They were not good conditions. But, we never had any reports that there was that level of illnesses and so on … But, this is not to say that it hasn’t happened. We regret that the conditions were such that the fire officers would have fallen sick and so on,” the apologetic Vanterpool said.

I applaud you, fire officers

He applauded the officers who he said have been executing their duties well despite the overwhelming conditions they’ve had to endure throughout the last several months.

The minister, in the meantime, noted that other fire facilities such as the station on the sister island of Virgin Gorda will also undergo some much-needed repairs.

“I know there is an evaluation being done there and there are some works to be done on that fire station also. I can’t say exactly when that will be done, right now,” Vanterpool said.

The territory’s Fire & Rescue Services are also to receive a shipment of additional fire trucks to carry out their various duties.

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  1. Jane says:

    Minister Vanterpool needs to apologize and resign immediately!

    We can’t tolerate this level of neglect and abuse. The facilities that he is responsible for managing are not only not functional they are now harming people. He has failed to honor his promises to rebuild our facilities and ports. He has failed to provided a safe place for us to live and work.

    He failed. He needs to resign!

    Like 43
    Dislike 7
    • Oops says:

      Bravo! Finally speaking truth to power. His failures has been huge, cost has been humongous. This has nothing to do with Irma

      Like 15
    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Mr Minister and c*****t government,

      Please publish who bid the project and their corresponding bid. Then publish the final cost of the work. If the end cost is more than 5% above the original cost, promise the people of the Territory that you will resign and leave the Territory permanently. This by the way is called accountability. It’s a new word going around in the Territory

  2. Reader says:

    Amen, Hon. Minister Vanterpool. The world was not made in a day…

    Like 4
    Dislike 28
  3. Hmmmm says:

    It take a news article for you to come to the public and to help the officers???? Shame on you. I never see you come out responding to the media so quick. You desperate to get re-elected now so you in the news. Shame on you.

    Like 37
    Dislike 6
    • Think before you comment says:

      Im no Mark fan but you think all the necessary red tape all the planning and meetings it takes to come up with a plan for restoring a building, hire an agency to carry out the work etc, couldve been completed and ready for works to start on MONDAY in response to a news article that came out today or yesterday….


      This had to be in the works for ages with how slow gov turns around!

      Like 18
      Dislike 9
      • I gave a thumbs up says:

        but unfortunately a lot of people plain ol’ stupid out here.

        Like 4
        Dislike 5
      • SNH says:

        Let the People know something! Don’t wait until you find a solution. Let them know what your are working on, so that they will know you are aware of their issues. Communications is the key.( How ironic – Minister of Communications)

        Like 19
  4. Wellsaw says:

    I mean this is what I mean one set of people only getting the work. I guess this is for him to chill out about social security it is alleged.

    And why so much money to put back on a roof and do works within.

    Governor the people of this country are very disappointed and more so in the ministers that stayed with the Government to keep this type of cronyism on going (6&7).

    The people of this country have found themselves in a real bind. Looking in all directions and seeing different faces with the same intentions.

    And if those who are responsible for making sure that the system works and the rules are enforced we would not be in this mess.

    The Auditor General and the Accounts committee hands are all tied.

    Like 9
    Dislike 5
  5. Ausar says:

    Awesome News!

    To imagine that on-line blogs are the only way that government is made aware of on-going ills in this country…

    Long live the on-line blogs!!

    Like 14
    Dislike 2
  6. froggy says:

    “You were aware of the conditions there but you never had any reports that there was that level of illnesses and so on…”. Come on man, you thick or what ? Try to spend some time in a building with no roof and see what happens : excessive dampness leads to mould and mosquitos, both causing infectious illnesses. Anybody with a minimum of brain cells would have known that, no need of “reports”.

    Like 18
  7. Lb says:

    M— desperate to get elected after he say he was done. Now every second he posting on Facebook and now trying to save face with the Firemen. Mark has been absent in district 4 up an down with people from Santo instead of he own people. The Fire station in the 4th! He own district! And it took a news story for he to come with this now? He need to go sit down from trying to fool people every election. St—, Ba————, S—— T—— and B——- them need to stop taking contract just for their family to vote for M—-. District above self!

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
    • @LB says:

      We know you have a PVIM agenda but just some facts. The article was posted on 6 December regarding the fire station. The monies for the works was approved 28 November. While I agree it’s disgraceful that our fire officers had to deal with that for so long it’s not fair to say it’s only being worked on now because of the story. Say what you want about Mark, he will be re-elected with the NDP to form the Government again.

      Like 4
      Dislike 17
    • Llb says:

      Funny the names blot when certain people post.

  8. Brad Boynes says:

    Unfortunately ,unacceptable. Why the public has to be the last to know.?

  9. Hark the harol says:

    Kick back again this g—— politician God help us here in this country

  10. Think says:

    Obviously it did not take a news article for him to action. The fact that an estimate was provided, funds have been secured, construction team selected and construction ready to begin proves that this has been on his agenda for months and action was being made. He cannot control the start of construction, he has to work with the construction company to become available to do so. Also, officials cannot control what the news site decided to report on. A lot goes on that is not reported on.

    Like 5
    Dislike 11
    • TurtleDove says:

      I dont fault him for it taking so long but are you telling me they let people work in those conditions? There could have been a temporary fix….this is just not right. Up under a tree with their trucks would have been better.

      • Oops says:

        About six months ago this was blogged but who cares really. The police had that mold problem as the little ones keep falling sick. The people in government that supposed to protect the people by doing inspections and closing down offenders are also failing. Those people working at the service station who looks into their situations? Not forgetting folks who’re not being paid for weeks.

      • WELL says:


  11. Just ice says:

    Another Lazy politician trying to shut the door after the horse has bolted.

    Like 11
  12. ndp heckler says:

    Is this a coincidence, yesterday big headline and today contract signing?

    Like 11
    Dislike 2
  13. Horns says:

    The man will soon grow horns

  14. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Shameful and disgraceful benign neglect of the Fire Dept. Hq. and health of fire officers. 15 months living in an unsafe structure and in an unhealthful environment. Here is a news flash. In any organization, employees are the most important resources, though they are often not treated like it. Often every other resources or supposed needs take precedence over employees’ need, ie, equipment, IT, globetrotting……etc
    Fellow Virgin Islanders, we cannot fall for false promises all the time; a promise is comfort for fools. We enable politicians to overpromise and under deliver, for they know we have short memories and can be easily bambozzled by nonsense. We need to judge politicians by action. Should we impressed with the MCW flashing a floor plan? No. For 15 months, fire officers have been forced to live and work in an unhealthy building, risking their health. It is rather interesting when we live in mansions and work in safe and healthful spaces we appear not to give a rat’s ass about the work horses, the “lil” man.

  15. Priorities says:

    $5m for a DDM building that is part a warehouse and $700k for essential services. No mention of the Police station.

    Turn the high school compound into Police , Fire and DDM. Take the high school out of town

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  16. Accountability says:

    For the purposes of accountability, the public / tax payers need know what’s your kickback amount and how much is the projected over run cost.

  17. H says:

    How come nobody heard about the selection process for construction works. I would bet on my grand mother’s grave those drawings are fake

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  18. Mr. Green says:

    Gee-The public funds spent on the Easter event in VG and the August event at the Fair Grounds could have handled this project 12 months ago. Lets think with the Big heads.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  19. Auntie Mary says:

    Lock up Mark Vanterpool…

  20. Compassionate Concerned Citizen says:

    They did not even have time to correct the grammatical mistakes on the paperwork. And this seems like they plan to put a bandaid on this huge gash. Really, before the Hurricanes this facility was in a deplorable state, now it is simply unacceptable. This building does not need repairing, it needs to be demolished. A patch to the roof and a coat of paint will not do. The Minister has paid very little attention to this department and he should hang his head in shame, many times, for many crimes.

  21. Fire fighter says:

    Only if the Airport fire department had a leader to stand up for the service. Forgotten Fire Service.

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