MoBay needs one more fire station — Stewart


MoBay needs one more fire station — Stewart

Observer West writer

Thursday, June 13, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, Stewart Beckford, says with the current spate of development in St James, there is the need for the construction of at least one more fire station in Montego Bay, the parish's capital.

The brigade in St James currently operates from Ironshore and the Freeport area.

Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the long-awaited Barnett Street Fire Station in Montego Bay last Thursday, the commissioner, who is an attorney, noted that between 2006 and the end of last year, the parish has seen a 98 per cent increase in emergency calls received.

He said this is as a result of the massive development in recent years of commercial and residential properties, which has resulted in the second city expanding in a westerly direction.

“And so as the city of Montego Bay grows, as the population grows, consideration will have to be given to the erection of at least one additional fire station in the city of Montego Bay,” said Beckford, adding that “the erection of an additional fire station would reduce the distance travel to incidents and thereby improve our response time.”

Mayor of Montego Bay councillor Homer Davis, who has long been advocating for the establishment of three additional fire stations in the parish, used the occasion to reiterate his call.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I again renew my call for the establishment of three satellite First Response Stations in the rural parts of St James...namely Maroon Town, Cambridge and Adelphi. These towns are an average 20 miles away from Montego Bay, and will prove valuable, if there were to be any form of disaster in those and adjoining communities,” argued a passionate Mayor Davis.

“These satellite first response stations should be outfitted with the necessary personnel and equipment to take on any incidents until support arrives from Montego Bay or elsewhere. The establishment of these first response stations will also add value to the properties in those communities and therefore bring in new investments,” added the mayor.

The Barnett Street station is being constructed at a cost of just over $500 million under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP). The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is the implementing agency.

The derelict building that housed the Barnett Bay Fire Brigade was demolished in June 2016, to make way for the construction of a modern state-of-the-art facility.

Construction work for the new building is expected to last 12 months, and will house some 140 firefighters.

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