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Ministry condemns damage to fire truck

Friday, March 28, 2014    

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THE Ministry of Local Government and Community Development yesterday condemned Wednesday's attack on a team of firefighters who had gone to extinguish a fire set on a car by angry residents after the vehicle hit down a little girl.

The ministry, in a release, originally put the blame on residents of the Jamaica Labour Party-represented Denham Town, when in fact the incident took place in Tavares Gardens, popularly called Payne Land, a section of the South West St Andrew constituency of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, president of the ruling People's National Party.

The release was later corrected to say the incident took place in Payne Land.

"In a press release sent out earlier the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development stated that the attack on the Trench Town firefighters took place in Denham Town. However, we have been informed that the incident occurred in the vicinity of Payne Land Avenue and not Denham Town as was reported in our previous release. The ministry wishes to apologise for any inconvenience this error may have caused," said the subsequent release.

The residents torched the car involved in the accident and later stabbed and beat the driver. A fire truck which was called to scene was stoned by the angry residents, who smashed the windscreen.

It was only yesterday the ministry revealed that four firefighters were injured in the incident and had to be treated at the Apex Medical Centre.

"It is understandable that residents would be enraged by the actions of the driver, and understandably so, but the manner in which they chose to express their vexation is not only destructive but also very expensive," a ministry release quoted junior minister Colin Fagan, who has direct portfolio responsibility for the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

The release said the Jamaica Fire Brigade is already constrained by limited resources, particularly pumpers, available for them to carry out their duties. "Any damages to these units and injuring the country's service men can only impact negatively on the services being offered by the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the country's development.

"The ministry is imploring citizens to refrain from repeating any such actions," the release said.

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