News

Cause of tanker blaze to be known today

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Obsrever staff reporter

Monday, January 13, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Fire Brigade says it should, by today, be able to determine the cause of the blaze that destroyed a tanker truck in Mona Heights on Thursday.

"Investigations are not complete but by Monday we should be able to finalise that process, including determining the cause of the blaze," Director of Communication Emilio Ebanks told the Jamaica Observer.

He said that estimated damage caused by the blaze could run close to the $50-million mark.

"Estimates are no longer done by the Fire Brigade, but based on early indications I suspect the cost could fall around that region," said Ebanks, who said he was waiting on reports from other officials.

Meanwhile, firefighters say the quick response of the team, which used a special firefighting method to bring the raging flames on the tanker under control, was to be credited for stopping the tank from exploding.

"Residents reported hearing explosions but the tank did not explode. If it did it would have been a catastrophe: hundreds of people would have been killed," said Ebanks.

Firefighters said when the fire erupted on the trailer the impact was minimised by special pressure valves on the tank. That, along with their response which brought the flames under control, went a far way in reducing temperatures.

Ebanks said the intensity of the heat melted half of the trailer, which contained the gasoline.

Two houses and two cars were among items destroyed by the fire. Also, power provider Jamaica Public Service said close to 6, 000 customers were left without electricity for nearly 24 hours. Other utility companies such as Flow and Cable and Wireless have also reported damage to equipment, and close to 200 metres of newly paved roadway was damaged.

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