Tobago Fire officials are calling on Tobagonians to “buck up” as there has been a significant increase in vehicular and structural fires on the island since November last year.
Divisional Fire Officer for Tobago, David Thomas said residents must do better as a number of these fires are caused by faulty equipment, carelessness or may have been set by intruders. Thomas said many of these fires could have been avoided.
His warning came after the latest incident at George Street Glamorgan where a fire left seven people homeless. The seven includes four adults and three children.
According to reports the structure and all household articles were destroyed in the blaze which began around 2 yesterday morning. The two-storey home was valued at $540,000 and household articles destroyed were said to be worth $ 80,000.
The house was owned by a pensioner, 86 year old Thelma Javis.
The Head Fire Official in Tobago explained that between November last year to present fire officers have been busy treating with more than just bush fires which usually coincide with the dry season.
“Between November to now, there have been more than one dozen fires in Tobago and that is unusual. Look for instance on one night we had two major fires, one in the East, one in the West on the same night. There is also a marked increase in the number of vehicular fires on the island’s roadway.”
Thomas said while his officers are currently gathering data before making an official statement, preliminary evidence suggests that a number of home-related house fires are caused by faulty LPG gas cylinders.
“What we have seen so far is that there are faults in either the cylinder heads or the hose and the connections that have maybe deteriorated over time or may not be according to NP guidelines.”
He said another concern was the poor judgement by some people.
“We still have cases where persons come home late they may be extremely tired and even intoxicated in some cases and instead of going to bed, they attempt to prepare a meal even reheat food. These careless acts could lead to hundreds and thousands in losses.”
Thomas said candles left lighting and unattended are also another leading contributor to devastating fires as seen in a recent case in Spring Garden where there was one fatality.
The Divisional Fire Officer also explained that in several of the cases investigations revealed that the fires were intentionally set.
He urged people to be mindful of how they secure their properties and to be their brother’s keeper to prevent further loss on the island.