SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The Jamaica Fire Brigade's Acting Divisional Commander for Westmoreland Rudolph Seaton has dismissed claims that a faulty fire hydrant has led to loss of lives in the Grange Hill Division. But Seaton has admitted that a lack of resources is the reason for the delay in fixing the hydrant.

The issue was raised during last Thursday's monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation by Councillor for the Grange Hill Division, Lawton McKenzie (PNP).

“Two years ago a faulty fire hydrant was removed by the fire brigade, and it was supposed to be replaced. Up until now, it has not been done. I have made donations to the cause and still, nothing. Fires have happened in Grange Hill because there is no fire hydrant — and it needs to be replaced urgently,” an enraged McKenzie told the meeting.

In response, Seaton said the fire department is aware of the issue but is facing its share of hiccups as it tries to get the matter resolved.

“What is happening with that hydrant is that it was somewhere else, and [McKenzie] recommended that it should be replaced at another location at Patrick Drive. The fire department has moved forthwith to have that done but we came upon some hiccups because there are some additional resources that we need that the fire department does not provide,” Seaton told the Jamaica Observer when contacted for a response.

He acknowledged that McKenzie had made contributions towards having the hydrant fixed and some parts were purchased, but explained that other tools are needed for the installation.

“We also need to collaborate with the National Water Commission to do the excavation and we will also meet with Councillor McKenzie and the municipal corporation to see how best we can have this issue resolved,” Seaton added.

He also noted that for the 2019-2021 period the Grange Hill Division had six reported fires, none of which resulted in deaths.

BY DAINA DAVY Observer writer editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

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