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Storm damage triggers gas station revamp

The Crawl Hill Esso Tiger Mart forecourt is torn up as a new canopy is erected (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

The Crawl Hill Esso Tiger Market is closed for at least a month, as it undergoes a critical phase of repairs, triggered by storm damage last year.

“To go back to last September, we cracked our canopy during Hurricane Franklin,” co-owner Joseph Marable said.

The Category 2 storm passed 145 miles off shore, but sent tropical-storm force winds our way.

“We went ahead and started doing what we needed to do, and found we had to go a little further than putting up the canopy again,” Mr Marable said.

He likened it to getting a tune-up for your car.

“While you are doing that, you might have a look at the engine to make sure nothing else is needed,” said Mr Marable who runs the business with his partner, Lorna Dixon-Marable. “Safety first.”

A crew has been digging up the forecourt since April 1, to make sure the brackets that hold the poles for the canopy are stable.

“The petrol tanks underneath are fine, but we have to make sure that everything is compliant,” he said. “The previous canopy was up since around 2000.”

It is a delicate job.

“You cannot just drill down,” he said. “If something was to go wrong you could penetrate a tank with a drill.”

After this work is done everything will have to be backfilled, and the concrete slab replaced.

“That takes a week to cure,” Mr Marable said. “It is a process.”

He is optimistic that the work will be done by the middle of May.

“I wish I could give you an exact date,” he said. “We appreciate that the community wants us to reopen. We also want to be back open as soon as possible.”

Mr Marable said the repair team is doing a great job, and have accomplished a lot in just ten days.

“The weather has been relatively good,” he said.

He has been operating the gas station on the North Shore in Hamilton Parish for 20 years. The location can be quite windy.

“It is a great spot, but the amount of rain we had in 2023, coupled with the wind and the salt spray has been brutal on the structure and pumps,” he said. “When the canopy came off we were even more vulnerable to salt spray getting into the pumps.”

He said they have a fair amount of business, between gas and food, because of their location.

“The community has been extremely positive,” Mr Marable said. “We see people all the time, who say they miss the station being open. It is a good feeling to know the community supports us.”

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Published April 12, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 13, 2024 at 8:04 am)

Storm damage triggers gas station revamp

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