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IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Porters gully fire capped

MARIA BRADSHAW, [email protected]

IT MATTERS TO MARIA: Porters gully fire capped

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RESIDENTS living at Porters and Mount Standfast, St James can breathe a bit easier.

Yesterday the Soil Conservation Unit (SCU), under the direction of the Department of Emergency Management and the Fire Service, started to cap off a fire that had been burning in a gully at Porters for the past three weeks.

Officer in charge of the SCU, Bernard Thompson, who was on the scene directing the tractors and trucks, explained that they had scraped off some of the top soil from the land to throw into the gully and they would also use additional soil which had been provided by the owner of the Doorless Bar, Harry Butcher.

Acting Fire Service Divisional Officer, Gordon Boxill, said fire officers had responded to the fire on numerous occasions but were unable to extinguish it because it was a deep-seated one.

“We are trying to cap it as best as we could and prevent the nuisance – smoke – from affecting the residents. If they cap it properly it should solve the problem,” he said.

Several residents downwind had been complaining about the smoke and ash affecting them for the past three weeks.

Winfield Moore, who complained vociferously to several Government departments last year when garbage was being dumped in the gully, maintained yesterday that the whole fiasco could have been avoided.

“I went to the Ministry of Health and the Maurice Byer Polyclinic to complain and nobody ain’t take me on,” he said.

The owner of the Doorless Bar started dumping hundreds of tonnes of garbage into the gully last October to cap it so as to prevent flooding on his land.

He said the garbage was not household garbage but consisted of old wood and metals.

Representative for the area, Edmund Hinkson, sent a letter to his constituents this week telling them relief was on the way.

The letter read: “To my constituents who have been made to put up the uncomfortable and unhealthy inhalation of smoke emanating from Porters over the last week and a half, please be advised that I spoke to the Minister of Environment in Parliament yesterday on the matter. He promised to have his Ministry’s Environmental Protection Department urgently look into the matter…” (MB)