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AIA fire-fighting trucks not yet commissioned – PM Gonsalves

AIA fire-fighting trucks not yet commissioned  – PM Gonsalves

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The three new aircraft rescue and fire-fighting vehicles which were purchased for the Argyle International Airport (AIA) were not called into action last Sunday at a fire in Kingstown, because they are not yet commissioned.

This was the response given in Parliament {{more}}last Tuesday, by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in answer to a question posed on radio, the day before, by Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.

“The simple answer is that those trucks have not yet been fully commissioned and there’s some additional training which is required to be done…,” Gonsalves said of the state-of-the-art vehicles which were purchased at a cost of US$2.7 million.

Gonsalves said in the event of an emergency, it is understandable that the new tenders will be put to use at the ET Joshua airport where they are currently stationed.

An older fire truck from the ET Joshua airport was deployed to assist with last Sunday’s fire.

“Persons may say, well, why you just don’t commission them?”

Gonsalves said, apart from the issue of the training, of which a substantial amount has already been completed, the one-year warranty on the trucks commences from the time of the commission of the fire tenders.

“That is the practical issue. That is the answer to a legitimate query that has been raised.”

Gonsalves said, on the night of the fire, firefighters and the deputy commissioner of police, Reynold Hadaway, told him that they had adequate facilities to deal with the blaze.

“They had two fire engines that they had dealing with the blaze and containing it into those areas which were affected,” he said.

Sunday’s fire was the second to take place in Kingstown in the space of one week. The Coreas Mini Mart was gutted by fire on August 16.

On Monday, on the New Times programme on Nice Radio, Eustace said the new trucks should have been used to quell the fire.

“I am asking that question here now for the Government to answer. Why are these fire trucks not being used at this time to save property and lives. No lives have been lost, but surely if we have three new fire trucks here, the airport is not open now. Why can’t they be used in cases such as this?” Eustace said.

The three aircraft rescue and fire-fighting trucks, which were placed in the care of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, arrived in the state in November 2014 from American Speciality Trucks Manufacturers.

Each truck has a capacity of 3,300 gallons of water, 460 gallons of AFFP/FFP (foam) concentrate and 550 pounds of dry chemical. (KW)

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