Last fire crew leaves dump

| 16/02/2014

CNS): After more than one hundred hours of operations at the George Town dump extinguishing the biggest landfill fire on the island ever, the Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) officially stood down and the last crew working at the landfill arrived back on Central Fire Station around 1:30pm Sunday, according to Acting Fire Chief Rosworth McLaughlin. Thanking God that that none of his officers were injured during such an extended and dangerous operation, he noted that such incidents normally result in firefighters suffering smoke inhalation at the very least. "Firefighters' personal protection is paramount and is an integral part of their fire ground training evolutions," he said. 

"I believe that the training these officers received paid dividend on this occasion and speaks volume of its effectiveness. This successful operation is also an indication of the high level of command and control procedures that were deployed by the highest ranking officer on the scene from time to time," McLaughlin stated.

The acting fire chief thanked all the fire officers for their hard work and dedication throughout the emergency, in which, from Wednesday morning to Saturday lunchtime, firefighter battled a blaze deep inside the huge mound of garbage, known as 'Mount Trashmore', while smoke and fumes spread over the islands' capital.

While the fire was believed to have been extinguished yesterday around noon, the fire service maintained a presence at the dump for an additional day to be on hand in case any part of the dump re-ignited.

"I am pleased that I was able to lead this great team of dedicated officers during the most difficult time of my career in the Cayman Islands Fire Services," he said. "While there has been many fires at the landfill over the years, this fire was by far the largest and most challenging that the CIFS has had to deal with at the landfill in over three decades. In fact, it’s the largest ever in the history of the CIFS.”

McLaughlin also expressed his gratitude to Department of Environmental Health Director Roydell Carter for his support during the lengthy operation, as well as Home Affairs Ministry Chief Officer Eric Bush, Premier Alden McLaughlin and Health Minister Osbourne Bodden for their visits and moral support during the emergency.

He said the Burger King Restaurant assisted with some meals free of charge. "This is commendable and demonstrates the value of public and private sector partnership in a common cause. Special mention must be made of Mr Ernest Powell, who stayed on site and provided fuel for all equipment during the entire operation, McLaughlin said.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A very appreciative THANK YOU TO ALL THE WOMEN & MEN of the CAYMAN ISLANDS FIRE SERVICE.  Great job, as always, you guys are some true unsung HEROS!!!   Many of us truly appreciate all of you. 

  2. jake says:

    Explosions could have been emitted from the garbage hill including poisonous gases. Indeed this was a dangerous job for any firefighter.

  3. Anonymous says:


    It is time our Firemen do some work. Who are they kidding, they get more rest than the average human. They have beds at every station and takes time sleeping during shifts. A little fire everyone and then does well for our firemen.

    • xxx says:

      I just wonder, do you realize that firefighters work 24 hours in two days whereas the general public work 24 hours in three days.  To the poster who says there are very few fires, not every fire hits the news.  The FD are called out to fires on a daily basis and they are also required to attend vehicle accidents and many other emergencies.  They work very hard for every dollar they earn so how about we just show a little respect and appreciation for them putting their lives on the line for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's never good when firefighters have to "work". Personally I'd rather they never had to respond to a burn or car accident or other rescue incident. 

    • Anonymous says:

      07.14 you obviously got out of bed the wrong side this morning..I hope your words do not come back to haunt you should your place ever catch fire (and no, I don't wish that on you or anyone).

    • Anonymous says:

      Clearly you have never seen a car accident, bush fire, athletic event, building fire or airport emergency or you would see that our fireman appear at each one.  More so than any police presence at a car accident.  Give the guys a break,  they actually show up for work.  I for one am glad they are out there.  At a recent car accident that I was involved in, two fire trucks and ambulances appeared within 10 minutes of the call and thankfully they were able to extinguish the engine fire or i would not still be here.  It took police more than 2 1/2 hours to arrive on scene.  I say we should give the fire service half of the RCIPs budget for doing their job and being available at every scene.  Good job at the dump and Thank you for always being there!

    • Anonymous says:

      How ungrateful some people can be. Those poor guys spent many days amidst the garbage that you disposed of because it was unhealthy for you to keep it in your property. Instead of being appreciative of the work done by our fire fighters under such unfavorable condition, you make a smart ass comment like that. You are pathetic and should be made to eat the filt those officers were subjected to. I hope that if you ever find yourself in need of their assistance you turn them away or don't expect them to turn up at all. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good job! Now let's finally get the real issue of the dump sorted so we never need to put these people in harms way unnecessarily again.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Government has budgeted to hire 26 new firefighters, all with free pension and health benefits, this coming year. And yet there are few calls for the fire dept to put out fires every year. So why increase the civil service even more?

    • Anonymous says:


      You got to be kidding !!??

      Why dont they recruit vulontary fire fighter?? keep these guys on stand-by, just in case of a fire?

      I can understand the necessity  of the fire crew at the airports. but all the districts should have  vulantary reserve fire fighters.

      It would save a shit load of money!!

    • Anonymous says:

      06.42 Firefighters have to be prepared for the worst scenario, whether that is a plane crash, a cruise ship overturning, a full cinema catching fire or a major hotel going up in smoke, again full of people. So most of the time it would appear they are overstaffed, as with any fire brigade in the world, however if one of the above were to happen (and these events do happen) then you same people would be the ones criticising the "understaffed, underequipped fire brigade that let people burn". Sounds awfully like you running off at the mouth without engaging brain first..

    • Anonymous says:


      Alas people keep having those inconvenient fires during all hours of the day and night with absolutely no regard for weekends or holidays.

      If the public would kindly limit their brush, structure, and vehicle fires to regular business hours Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm then we could make some big cut backs in the fire service.

      We could expand this money saving strategy to the ambulance service, police service, and to 9-1-1.

      </ sarcasm>

      Or we could recognize that a big part of such jobs is to wait and be ready to go as soon as an emergency is reported.

      I don't care what the firefighters are doing otherwise when they are not responding to calls. So long as they are trained, the equipment is maintained, and they are ready to go when called. You can only wash and polish a truck so many times.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent idea. Send them all home. I just hope that the next time the dump catches on fire all the smoke travels in your direction and continue until the island can find some private citizens to extinguish it. Your comment says alot about how you feel about the Cayman Islands. I guess as far as you are concerned the landfill should still be burning as a welcoming trophy to the tourist arriving on the cruise ships. The same mentality was displayed and echoed by people like yourself until Sept 11. Then everyone wished that there were more trained fire fighters available. We just don't learn, do we?

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you want the fire fighters to do? Go out and start some fires?  Our Firemen are usually first on the scene when anything like a fire, car accident , dog down in well,child down in well, someone stuck in elevator, alarm system going off, etc.  They are very versatile and can and do use their skills  in many different ways.  I personally wish that they did not ever have to jump in those trucks with sirens blaring, but I am real happy  that they are always ready and prepared to go where ever there is potential danger to the public. Would  the ungrateful persons out there complaining prefer that there were no fire service on the island.  Perhaps it would be good to have volunteer firemen/women, but it would be just that, volunteers.  Suppose on a Sunday morning when these volunteers are sleeping late, or out running their dogs a huge fire starts- suppose the firemen/women decide that they do not want to go  put out fire, because after all they are not getting paid to do so,  Who will have the authority to force them out. Not saying it will happen but just suppose it does. I imagine volunteers would be great but the real firemen/women would be obliged to go, and we should be thankful we have them.  Besides they are really great guys!! (and  gals).  I have two in my neighborhood and you could not find  more helpful  persons.  I feel  safe whenever they are around. Thank you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    At least the firefighters got free BK.

  7. Anonymous says:

    biggest in three decades???………..thats not what ozzie said……

  8. Anonymous says:

    i hope they took some pictures…..


  9. Anonymous says:

    Thank you guys (including the ladies). May your dedication always be remembered. I hope you will be able to get some rest soon. Thanks again.