July 1, 2022

Statement by Cayman Islands Fire Service on now-extinguished Bodden Town Quarry fire

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Grand Cayman (GIS) –The Fire Service stands by its initial assessment that as a result of the quarry’s location, there was never a risk of fire for the Lake Destiny Drive residential community. (Please see attached Google Map with the fire site and the neighbourhood site indicated.)

At the same time as a result of the substantial size of the smouldering piles, as well as their contents, such as aerosol containers, there was significant risk to both officers and plant operators who would have had to pull the piles apart to extinguish them.

Furthermore on 25 September when the fire was first reported and at its most intense, fire officers found no sign of smoke during extensive checks of the nearest residential area, 1450 ft. away. In addition the vast amounts of water necessary to extinguish the fire would have resulted in contaminated water entering nearby ponds.

For all these reasons the Fire Service opted to manage the incident by focusing on monitoring the site of the fire, working with site owner to ensure that the fire could be extinguished once it was safer to do so, and that it met fire safety standards thereafter, as well as making regular visits to the Lake Destiny neighbourhood to assess the impact of any smoke.

In the following days as the fire reduced in intensity, the Fire Service continued to regularly check the residential area downwind of the fire. While the Fire Service does not have the capacity or remit to measure air quality, at no time during their visits to the neighbourhood did officers see any visible sign or smell any odour of smoke. The Department of Environmental Health, which measures indoor air quality, has reached out to offer their services to a member of the community who complained to them about the fire.

Officers further noted that from 25 September, the pale-coloured smoke emitted by the fire was consistent with burning undergrowth, brush and tree stumps. By 26 September the fire had died down to a smouldering state which continued to diminish each day until it was extinguished.

At no time was black smoke observed from the fire which would have implied the presence of a carbon-based fuel source such as tyres or gasoline. (As evidence of the quantity and type of smoke see accompanying pictures attached and below from the site of the fire. These are dated from 25 September through 19 October when the fire was extinguished. Video is also available.)

The Fire Service would like to add that while the fire was burning, unknown persons continued to use the site as an illegal dumping ground (see attached picture from 8 October). In addition to breaching the law this practice constitutes a hazard for nearby communities but also for firefighters, and we urge all persons to follow established procedures for the disposal of waste.

Pictures 25th Sep 18, when the fire was at its most intense, smoke consistent with brush and undergrowth fire, no sign of black smoke being produced.

Pictures 4th Oct 18. The dwellings are situated 1,450 feet beyond the bushes you see in the background, no visible sing or smell of smoke was observed on the occupied area.

Pictures 8th Oct 18. Very little smoke visible.

Picture 19th Oct, after the fire had been extinguished.

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