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Bristol is critical of lack of firefighting equipment

Former Attorney General Jimmy Bristol

Former Attorney General Jimmy Bristol was high in praise for fire officers for containing a fire in the city on Thursday despite arriving on the scene with limited equipment.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, Bristol said that he and staffers at the law office of Henry Henry & Bristol were getting ready to evacuate their building as the fire was not far from them and was looking very threatening.

The attorney-at-law commended the firemen for working with little and poor equipment, as well as limited training to bring the fire situation under control and from spreading to nearby buildings.

According to Bristol, the fire tender that arrived came with water and when it ran out the day was saved by a water hydrant that was put in place near to the old Wesley College school over 35 years ago by the left-leaning People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of slain Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

He feared that if the PRG had not installed the hydrant there the situation with the Lucas Street fire could have been disastrous in the city.

“If the PRG didn’t put in those fire hydrants there now we would be dead because that is what they (fire fighters) had to resort to,” he remarked.

The attorney-at-law lamented the fact that two units stationed at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) at Point Salines had to be dispatched to help out the fire fighters.

According to Bristol, this should never happen because if those units got damaged then the island would be forced to shut down the airport again due to a possible downgrade since it would not be in line with international standards.

“Two, three years ago my brother who fixes fire trucks offered to fix the two units from the airport that (are) now parked up at SSU. We wrote to the Airport Authority offering them free service to do it – up to now we haven’t had a reply,” he said.

Bristol stressed the need for the government to ensure that the island is equipped with the proper fire trucks, sea water pumps, the necessary fire hydrants and proper equipment, as well as “permanent firemen and trained personnel” to help tackle fires around the island.

“It is a government responsibility. We pay taxes to have these infrastructure in place. It is disgusting, it is deplorable and the full responsibility lies with the government on this – 100%,” he said.

“We need proper equipment, proper training, proper infrastructure and we should not have to resort to equipment from the airport to fight fires in town. That is absolutely a last resort,” he added.

According to Bristol, the authorities need to urgently address the issue of parking in the city as it is turning out to be a nightmare for firefighters.

He said that a number of vehicles were parked all over the place and some people had to go in search of the owners to move them for the firemen to do their work.

“St. George’s is a jammed up place. You have to rush and find people to move their vehicles to allow the fire fighters to do their work,” he told THE NEW TODAY.

Editor’s Note: THE NEW TODAY wishes to make a correction to the article on page 24, under the headline banner: BRISTOL: FIRE TRUCK ARRIVED WITHOUT WATER”.

The fire tender did arrive with water but it had to seek a refill from a water hydrant located some distance away that was put in place since the 1979-83 period of the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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