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Oct 30, 2001

Fire-fighters break in new truck

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Armed with their new truck and plenty of confidence, the officers of the National Fire Service were busy fighting a large fire today; but don’t worry it was only a drill. This afternoon, the Esso depot site in Port Loyola was the scene of the latest demonstration where fire-fighters were testing their skills in the event of a fire on the compound. News 5 stopped by to see if the company passed their fire response test.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

It’s extremely crucial for large companies that deal with hazardous material to periodically conduct fire drills. One such company is the Esso depot, located on Caesar Ridge Road. It would be a catastrophic if the facility, which stores approximately four point two million gallons of fuel, to experience a fire. With that in mind, things were pretty busy at the compound today, as both the depot’s management and staff tested their fire plan.

Jose Espat, Terminal Manager, Esso Depot

“The scenario is that the valve on tank number four, which contains premium gasoline, sprang a leak and as a result of that we had a fire.”

The exercise also involved the National Fire Service, the Belize Emergency Response Team and the police.

Jose Espat

“We had two persons that were trapped inside our fire pump house and one person that was on top of that tank at the time. The exercise was first to rescue the two persons inside the pump house; the Fire Department, with the personnel using self contained breathing apparatus. Once that was done, our next priority was to rescue the person on top of the tank and lastly to respond to the actual fire.”

The Fire Department’s role is not only to take part in the exercise by helping to extinguish the flames, but they assess the company’s plan of action.

Ted Smith, Operations Officer, National Fire Service

“A lot of shortcomings were manifested that need to improve as well as some strong points manifest themselves that we need to commend the guys for as well. But the point of this exercise is to assess our capability to deal with situations similar to this and to look for ways how we can improve our performance for the service of our nation.”

Following the fire drill, a post exercise meeting took place, where Esso’s fire plan was reviewed to see if the activity was properly conducted and what changes need to be made. Espat says all recommendations will be seriously considered and will be included their inspection report. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

The fire service will be conducting similar tests with other companies in the coming weeks.

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