August 10, 2020

Cayman: DEH Statements on landfill fire/Esterley Tibbetts Highway Road Closure -[Update: Northbound lanes (& now Southbound lanes) temp re-opened]/Relaxed attendance policy for civil servants – Keep returning for updates!!!

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From GIS

7:40PM

Landfill Fire at 7pm on Monday, 9 March

CAYMAN ISLANDS (GIS) – Landfill Fire Update at 7pm on Monday, 9 March 2020.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) remain on site at the George Town Landfill.

The RCIPS confirmed this evening that in addition to opening the Highway to northbound traffic between 4.30-6.30 p.m., they also opened the southbound carriageway on the Highway to help traffic congestion. Officials say that the controlled opening worked well and following an assessment at 5.30 a.m. tomorrow Tuesday, 10 March 2020 may be repeated to aid the commute to work.

The situation at the site remains dynamic and nearby residents are advised to close doors and windows and monitor air conditioning units for smoke intake. The landfill will be closed to the public until further notice.

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaking at a press conference this afternoon expressed his sympathy to all who are being affected by the incident and assures them that the Fire, Police and DEH are working to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.

The Ministry of Education has shared an update on school closures on www.gov.ky and on social media.

Persons experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty breathing should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident & Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority (HSA).

This evening the Red Cross, with support from the HSA and a local GP, has also been set up as a medical post for first responders to seek assistance as a result of working extended hours or for smoke inhalation.

The next update will be shared after 8 a.m. tomorrow.

From RCIPS

5:05PM

Following further assessment, the southbound lanes of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, between the AL Thompsons roundabout and Camana Bay, are also being temporarily opened until 6:30PM. As a reminder, the speed limit in this area is reduced to 30MPH. See below release for further info.

4:19PM

Northbound Lanes of Esterley Tibbetts Temporarily Re-Opened, 9 March

In order to assist with the flow of traffic during the evening rush hour, the northbound lanes of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, between the AL Thompsons roundabout and Camana Bay, will be temporarily reopened between 4:00PM and 6:30PM today. The southbound lanes will remain closed.  Due to ongoing visibility issues caused by smoke coming from the George Town landfill fire, the speed limit in this area will be reduced to 30MPH.

Marked police vehicles will also be stationed at both ends of this section of the Esterley Tibbetts (AL Thompsons roundabout and Lawrence Boulevard). Motorists choosing to travel via the Esterley Tibbetts during this time are advised to exercise caution, obey all instructions from traffic officers, and observe the adjusted speed limit. In addition, your vehicle’s windows should be kept closed and the air system set to recirculate internal air, in order to avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke fumes.

Because the southbound lanes will remain closed, traffic congestion is still expected. As such, the RCIPS is asking the public to avoid all non-essential travel on Esterley Tibbetts and , in both directions, during the evening rush hour.

From GIS

March 9 2020

2:36 PM

Landfill Fire Update at 2.30pm on Monday, 9 March

CAYMAN ISLANDS (GIS) – Landfill Fire Update at 2.30pm on Monday, 9 March 2020.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and RCIPS remain on site at the George Town Landfill.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker says that his teams are continuing to make good progress across all sectors. In fact, the Esterley Tibbetts Highway (ETH) is no longer closed from Camana to Cost U Less. The reopening of that section has greatly improved traffic flow.

It is hoped that a decision about the complete reopening of the highway can be made by mid-afternoon. The decision depends on how much reduction of smoke crews can achieve.

All motorists travelling from the direction of West Bay are asked to divert to West Bay Road at their earliest convenience. Motorist travelling from George Town are also to travel along West Bay Road as far as possible.

All motorists who do not need to travel to and from West Bay are being asked to refrain from doing so until absolutely necessary, in order to alleviate some of the traffic flow hindrances that this road closure will cause during morning commute.

The Cornerstone School, the Transitional Unit, Stepping Stones, Little Star’s, the Early Intervention Program at CIFEC, St. George’s Pre-School, John Gray High School, George Town Primary, CIFEC and Cayman International School were closed to students today. Triple C School closed at noon. Both the shelter at John Gray and the Red Cross shelter are now closed.

The situation at the site remains dynamic and nearby residents are advised to close doors and windows and monitor air conditioning units for smoke intake. The landfill will be closed to the public until further notice.

Chief Walker expressed his sympathy to all who are being affected by the incident and assures them that the Fire, Police and DEH are working to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.

Another update will be provided shortly.

Persons experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty breathing should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident & Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority.

12:11 PM

Landfill Fire Update at 12pm on Monday, 9 March

CAYMAN ISLANDS (GIS) – Landfill Fire Update at 12pm on Monday, 9 March 2020.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and RCIPS remain on site at the George Town Landfill.

Crews working at the landfill have now been able to focus their efforts on the largest sector of the fire in the middle the site and have relocated their resources accordingly.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker says the teams are hoping to make a significant impact on the fire over the next 90 minutes.

The Esterley Tibbetts Highway (ETH) from Butterfield roundabout to Cost U Less is closed though officials are hoping to bring the closure further south to Camana Bay as soon as possible to alleviate traffic. The closure will be reassessed at midday and will depend how much reduction of smoke crews are able to achieve.

All motorists travelling from the direction of West Bay are asked to divert to West Bay Road at their earliest convenience. Motorist travelling from George Town are also to travel along West Bay Road as far as possible.

All motorists who do not need to travel to and from West Bay are being asked to refrain from doing so until absolutely necessary, in order to alleviate some of the traffic flow hindrances that this road closure will cause during morning commute.

The Cornerstone School, the Transitional Unit, Stepping Stones, Little Star’s, the Early Intervention Program at CIFEC, St. George’s Pre-School, John Gray High School, George Town Primary, CIFEC and Cayman International School are closed to students on Monday. Triple C School is closing at noon. Both the shelter at John Gray and the Red Cross shelter are now closed.

The situation at the site remains dynamic and nearby residents are advised to close doors and windows and monitor air conditioning units for smoke intake. The landfill will be closed to the public until further notice.

Chief Walker expressed his sympathy to all who had been affected by the incident and assures them that the Fire, Police and DEH are working to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.

Another update will be provided shortly.

Persons experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty breathing should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident & Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority.

9:26 AM

Landfill Fire Update at 0900 on Monday, 9 March

CAYMAN ISLANDS (GIS) – Landfill Fire Update at 0900 on Monday, 9 March 2020.

The Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS) and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and RCIPS remain on site at the George Town Landfill.

Crews have worked throughout the night to contain the fire to the landfill and will continue their efforts throughout the morning. The focus of firefighting has shifted to the mound, where the fire is concentrated.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Walker thanked his officers and those of DEH and RCIPS for their tireless efforts.

The Esterley Tibbetts Highway from Butterfield roundabout to Cost U Less is closed though officials are hoping to bring the closure further south to Camana Bay as soon as possible to alleviate traffic. The closure will be reassessed at midday.

All motorists travelling from the direction of West Bay are being asked to divert to West Bay Road at their earliest convenience. Motorist travelling from George Town are also to travel along West Bay Road as far as possible.

All motorists who do not need to travel to and from West Bay are being asked to refrain from doing so until absolutely necessary, in order to alleviate some of the traffic flow hindrances that this road closure will cause during morning commute.

The Cornerstone School, the Transitional Unit, Stepping Stones, Little Star’s, the Early Intervention Program at CIFEC, St. George’s Pre-School, John Gray High School, George Town Primary, CIFEC and Cayman International School will also be closed to students on Monday. Both the shelter at John Gray and the Red Cross shelter are now closed.

The situation at the site remains dynamic and nearby residents are advised to close doors and windows and monitor air conditioning units for smoke intake. The landfill will be closed to the public until further notice.

Chief Walker expressed his sympathy to all who had been affected by the incident and assures them that the Fire, Police and DEH are working to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.

Another update will be provided after 10am.

Persons experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty breathing should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident & Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority.

7:53 AM

Relaxed Attendance Policy for with children whose schools are closed today due to the landfill fire

Please see below note from Chief Officer Portfolio of the Civil Service – Mrs. Gloria McField- Nixon:

The Civil Service will operate a relaxed attendance policy today Monday 9 March, for parents whose children attend schools which have been closed today due to the landfill fire.

The schools which have been reported thus far to be closed today include Cayman International School, George Town Primary School, John Gray High School and CIFEC. 

All Civil Servants are encouraged to monitor updates issued by the Government Information Service (GIS).

7:33 AM

UPDATE:
Police are reminding the public that the Esterley Tibbetts Highway will remain closed due to the fire incident that is currently taking please. 

All motorist travelling from the direction of West Bay are being asked to divert to West Bay Road at your earliest convenience during your travels. Motorist travelling from George Town are also to travel along West Bay Road as far as possible in order to arrive at their destinations.

All motorist who do not need to travel to and from West Bay are being asked to refrain from doing so until absolutely necessary, in order to alleviate some of the traffic flow hindrances that this road closure will cause during morning commute. 

The RCIPS thanks you for your continued cooperation. 

2:05 AM

Update: Esterley Tibbetts Highway Road Closure

The below closure will remain in effect this morning, 9 March. The closure will be reassessed at 12:00PM, and an update will follow.

March 8 2020

10:29 PM

Landfill Fire Update

Cayman Islands Fire Service (CIFS)  and Department of Environmental Health (DEH) crews are seeing some success from their application of a specialised fire retardant at the scene of what officials are describing as a well-developed waste fire at the George Town Landfill.

Twenty seven fire officers plus a team from the DEH are currently on site at the landfill, where strong, variable winds have created challenging conditions.

Crews are tackling the fire from two strategic fronts based on risk: the Esterley Tibbetts Highway side,  and the Camana Bay side.  All resources from the West Bay Fire Station and the Central Fire Station have been diverted to the landfill. The Frank Sound Fire Station is providing cover to the rest of the Island and as such has moved two pumps to the cruise terminal  landing in Spotts to be closer to George Town and West Bay.    

The RCIPS is also present on site.

Crews will continue to work throughout the night.

Praising the work done by CIFS tonight, Minister for Home Affairs Hon. Tara Rivers says “On behalf of the Government and the country I would like to convey our deepest gratitude to Chief Walker and his team for their tireless efforts and commitment.

A further update is expected sometime after 11pm.

Ministry of Health Update

Persons  experiencing any problems with irritation or difficulty in breathing, should contact their healthcare professional or seek help from the Accident & Emergency Department at the Health Services Authority. Please also note that the direct phone number for people experiencing respiratory issues due to smoke should be 244-2945.

Shelters are open at John Grey High School and the Red Cross of Huldah Avenue for those who need to seek shelter from the smoke.

Ministry of Education  Update

George Town Primary School will be closed tomorrow due to the smoke generated by tonight’s  landfill fire.

Further  updates will be provided until the fire is extinguished.

7:10PM

Landfill Fire Update

The Red Cross Shelter on Huldah Ave. is now open for persons needing to evacuate from the smoke.

6:50PM

The Department of Environmental Health (DEH) are working with the CIFS to contain the current fire at the George Town Landfill (Sunday evening, 8 March 2020), and will keep the public updated.  

The public are advised to stay away from the smoke, and anyone experiencing respiratory issues due to smoke should contact the Accident and Emergency unit at the GT Hospital immediately on 244 2495 to report it.

The DEH will be further guided by the CIFS and the Medical Officer of Health as to the progress of the fire and if any shelters should be opened at this time.

The public is asked to remain on alert for updates on this developing situation.

6:21PM

Esterley Tibbetts Highway Road Closure,

Due to the fire at the George Town Landfill, the Esterley Tibbetts Highway is closed between the AL Thompsons roundabout and Camana Bay.

5:31PM

Landfill Fire Update

The Cayman  Islands Fire Service is reporting that the incident they were called to attend at the George Town landfill this morning (Sunday, 8 March 2020) has become an escalating, challenging fire fanned by strong winds.

A large smoke plume is now very visible. (I will share more information on likely impact on businesses and residents as soon as available.)

Fire Service has more resources heading to scene and will provide updates as information becomes available.

Fire Service officials describe the situation as very dynamic  and says CIFS is doing all it can to contain and prevent further escalation.

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