Fire Chief Praises ‘Unsung Heroes’
FOLLOWING the long Independence weekend of tragedy and heart wrenching mishaps, the man in charge of the St. Lucia Fire Service has stepped forward to thank the men women and even children who lent a hand in averting further heartache.
The nation is still in recovery mode following the news of the Lastic Hill inferno that completely consumed six houses and left two others severely damaged and have rendered dozens of people homeless; the seven named alarms of drowning which resulted in the rescuing of three and the deaths of two youngsters, brothers, and finally the reports of nine vehicular accidents including three motorcycle incidents.
However, amidst the flurry of misfortune, acting Chief Fire Officer, Lambert Charles told The VOICE that without the help of “good Samaritans”, the losses and death toll could have been higher.
Charles said: “Those persons, the civilians, the ordinary folk in the street who, with no training at all, would get involved in fighting a fire like that. Young men, young, brash and brave. Several young people got involved. Even young ladies got involved in assisting in fighting the fire and I really want to say thank you to them”.
Gratitude was also extended to the brave individuals who rescued three person from drowning in two separate incidents.
Charles paid homage to his staff, thanking them for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“I want to particularly go on record to thank the fire officers who have – whereas it is their duty to do so – every day they go out to do the best that they can to ensure that our citizens are assisted and helped and saved where possible”.
Charles said above all, St. Lucians showed true signs of unity when it was most needed.
“Everyday people assist each other and that is good. That’s a good sign for us because in times when we are so divided on so many issues, it is good to see that in times of distress, we can find the courage to come together and work towards one cause”.
On the other hand, whilst the acting Fire Chief was full of praise for all those who helped out, he expressed concern over one component of the Lastic Hill fire which inarguably worsened the situation.
Charles referred to the lack of water due to a closure of the water mains by WASCO.
He said whilst he recognises the fact that the steps were taken as part of the company’s water conservation protocols, measures should have been put in place to allow quicker and a better response action in emergency situations.
Charles said: “What we need now to ensure is that there is a system where we can get a quick response from WASCO. We have also been discussing other contingencies that would address similar situations should they arise”.
Currently, according to Charles, there is a standing procedure where contact is made with WASCO’s main offices and the message is relayed to whomsoever is on standby to respond and this has been used in the past. However, on this occasion it would appear that something was amiss.