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Fire chief: We did all we could

marciadottin, [email protected]

Fire chief: We did all we could

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WHILE THE LOSS of life on Friday was a tragic occurrence, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall said the Fire Service did all that they could.“We went to the scene and tried to make entrances. I understand lives were lost and people are traumatised but I cannot unduly risk the lives of my fire officers,” he said.Marshall made the comment when asked yesterday during a telephone interview whether he had a response to comments made by Alvin Babb in yesterday’s SUNDAY SUN. Babb was one of the men who tried to rescue the six young women who perished in the blaze in Campus Trendz, Tudor Street, The City, after robbers set the store on fire.A distraught Babb lamented how he could not save the women, adding the fire officials could also have done more.“I guarantee those men [fire-fighters] are trained and if they did at least went up the way we went up [referring to roof], then they would be able to get in.“We do something that none of those firemen did. Once you could get to the AC unit then you would be able to get inside, but we didn’t have any tools. The firemen are trained; If them did hear the screams then they would get in,” he was quoted.However, Marshall said fire officers made repeated attempts to enter the building to reach the victims but were forced to return each time.“I had some of my most trained and experienced men on the job. Different teams went in as far as they could but had to turn back each time. I had to take into account the lives of the men, there would have been more victims had they gone beyond the heat barrier,”  he said.Marshall said the fire service had adequate equipment to get into buildings barring iron drills for soft stone. However, he said he would prefer if buildings had a back door rather than have to try and bore holes through walls.“You can never have all the required tools in this profession for every circumstance but we do have tools to cut through most building materials. We have the ‘jaws of life’ which can push or cut metal and hammers which can knock down most doors.“But in this case you were talking about boring through soft stone, it was not a situation where we could call a contractor and tell them to drive through here [with a construction vehicle]. We had to use a sledge hammer which took time and effort,” he said.Marshall wished to express sympathy and condolences on behalf of the service to the grieving relatives of the deceased.“It is unfortunate it ended this way for those bright young people with their lives ahead of them,” he said. (CA)

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