Area residents offered assistance
Forms are available at the Ministry of Public Works for residents affected by heavy smoke and possible water contamination, after fire engulfed the Pembroke Dump.
One day after heavy smoke filled their homes, Friswell’s Hill residents were yesterday clearing the air to restore a sense of order. But not without countless questions regarding tank water and air quality.
National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said: “The notification form for claims, once completed, should be returned to the Public Works Ministry.
“Homeowners will be contacted by insurance representatives who will review the claim in collaboration with the Ministry of Government Estates and Information Services.”
Parish councils and other community-based bodies have been mobilised to assist the residents affected. “This follows the tremendous assistance provided by the Island’s water truckers on Thursday evening whose efforts, late into the night were invaluable.”
Health Minister Zane DeSilva also urged anyone with suspicions about their tank water to avoid drinking it for the time being.
The Royal Gazette took to the Friswell’s Hill the big question on the minds of residents was who will pay to have the contaminated tanks or cleaning soot off their roof tops?
Lionel Bean is a senior citizen who has lived on Middle Terrace in Pembroke for 64 years. “I worry about my family’s safety and the quality of water with all the soot that came up.
“I know we won’t be able to drink that water now because it’s probably contaminated. I wasn’t worried too much about the cinder ash because I’ve seen that before, I live just behind the school so it was blowing right in my direction.
“We couldn’t breathe properly all night, no one in my house has asthma but all of us had trouble breathing and my windows are still locked.”
82-year-old Gloria Carey has lived in the area for 62 years. “I had to close every single window in my house. I’ve seen a lot of fires but my husband has seen worse, he used to live on Pond Hill.
“The house still stinks of smoke and I’m a bit worried about the water in my tank because I know the ashes came over, I’m not sure what to do about that.”
Cynthia Woodley said the smoke didn’t hit her home until midnight when the wind shifted. “I’m not too worried about my tank water, the smoke was blowing the other way.
“But they need to do something about that pile at the dump, its too high, its too much stuff. I think that’s what’s causing the fires, they need to cut it down, it has got to be sorted out; area residents are just sick of it.”
Another resident who asked not to be named also wanted to know about her water. “My car’s got black soot all over it and I’m sure that stuff has gone down in my tank, I’m very concerned.
“Where do I go from here as far as getting it cleaned, is government going to assist? I’ve been up here all my life, when I was a child they piled trash down there now its compost.
“How long they plan to build that thing up like a mountain? I’ve never seen anything like that in my whole life, sparks were flying up on Friswell’s Hill and my neighbours had their hoses on guard ready to spray; thank goodness it rained.”
Moira Thompson, who was delivering lunches for Meals on Wheels said: “The smoke inhalation is probably going to cause people to stay inside.
“There’s a lot of combustion down there, but it is time to sort it out. The question is what are we going to do with it, where are we going to put it?
“We can’t just transfer it from one place to the next; nobody else wants that, we need to keep a closer eye on it and see what we could do to contain it.”
Another resident said she started smelling the smoke at 3am Friday morning when the winds shifted.
“With all that’s happening in the community lately my windows were all closed anyway, especially at night. I worry that I live close to the dump, but I’m even more concerned about the quality of water in my tank and everything else.
“I never use bleach in my tank but I am concerned about my water supply and I would like to know what to do. Some people are suffering more than others, I talked to a lady who lives further down the street on Stadium Heights; she and her family have been coughing all night.”
Ricky Trimm had trouble breathing as well.
“I have asthma and nobody wants to be exposed to smoke inhalation in their own house. Now we have to worry about the water in tanks because of the ashes flying around.”
“They need to sort it out because it seems like they don’t have the proper people to handle the work down there and it’s causing a big safety hazard in this area.”
Another homeowner said: “Most of my tenants and neighbours evacuated the area. Thank God for family and friends and we did get phone calls from government representatives.
Another young mother with a sick child said: “I had to wash everything, I had to wash curtains, the bed linens everything. Thank God nobody was hurt and we still have somewhere to live. We had to evacuate but it was good that we had somewhere to go.”
But by far the most lighthearted comment came from a woman who has lived in the area for 50 years, who also did not want to be named. “I’m so used to dump fires that I didn’t even get up to bother look right away.
“My husband said the dump’s on fire, I was in the bedroom when he opened up the window to see. I saw the sky all lit up and I just turned around and continued to watch Two and a Half Men on TV.
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