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The Editor Speaks: Latest GIS Press release re Bodden Town fire

First of all full marks to the Cayman Islands Fire Service for finally extinguishing the fires at the Bodden Town Quarry.

It took a long time as it was a very difficult job to do.

With every fire there is smoke and even if the smoke isn’t black there is the smell.

The residents at the nearby Lake Destiny Drive residential community have had to put up with the smell, if not the smoke, the whole time the fires were burning. It wasn’t just brush fire. It was also tyres and aerosol containers. Plus for most of the time the fire wasn’t blazing – it was smouldering piles.

The Lake Destiny Drive residents were quite right to voice their complaints and be angry at the almost non apologetic response to them from the government authorities.

We have published today a Government Press Release that also makes no such apology. In fact the whole release almost suggests that the residents were complaining at nothing.

The Release contains many photographs showing on the days the images were taken there was no black smoke. Nor were any of the residents in any danger of fire.

“Furthermore on 25 September,” the Release states, “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.

What about the smell?

According to the Release, there wasn’t any:

“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.”

Having lived near to Mount Trashmore when it caught fire on numerous occasions I could smell the odour, even when there was only a few whiffs of smoke. It all depends on the direction of the wind and on that particular day the fire officers were at Lake Destiny Drive that could be the reason they never smelled anything.

It is a shocking Press Release as it smacks of the residents were complaining just for the sake of complaining.

Smoke makes people sick.

It is well documented exposure to smoke can cause chest pain, a fast heartbeat or wheezing or bring on an asthma attack. Besides coughing and trouble breathing, many people experience symptoms similar to a sinus infection, such as headaches, sore throat, a runny nose and even tiredness.

Smoke can be especially harmful to the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic heart and lung diseases. Because children breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults and their airways are still developing, they may experience more severe symptoms.

Nowhere in the Release does it advise people at Lake Destiny Drive who have asthma or lung disease to consult their doctors.

Thankfully, there is a low risk of long-term effects of wildfire smoke exposure for healthy individuals. However, burning tyres is a very different story.


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