Raging bush fires spreading down the Northern Range near the Teteron Barracks in Chaguaramas for almost two days, have threatened to destroy ammunition stores and other buildings on the base.
Several fire officers from the Wrightson Road, Woodbrook and Four Roads fire stations spent several hours yesterday trying to control the bush fires with the help of the T&T Regiment as well as the T&T Air Guard and the T&T Coast Guard.
Chief fire officer Marlon Smith who also visited the Teteron Barracks base to assess the situation shortly after midday and told Guardian Media, “There are large areas of the hills under fire and there are several attempts to control them. Some of the fires have approached the ammunition stores and other critical structures which we were able to protect,” he explained.
Smith said that based on the information he had obtained, the bush fires have been ravaging the hills since Monday and they were called for assistance shortly after 10 am yesterday.
Smith said they were monitoring other active bush fires that were higher up in the hills that could not be easily accessed by firefighters. Guardian Media witnessed at least five fire vehicles entering the Teteron base around 12.30 pm.
Ironically, 32 years and three days ago on April 26, 1988, a bush fire in the vicinity of Camp Omega in Chaguaramas spread to the nearby Camp Omega arms and ammunition bunker causing a massive explosion that blew through the bunker’s eight-foot thick walls. The explosion killed four firefighters and two soldiers.
According to the T&T Coast Guard retirees who documented the ordeal via Facebook, “The explosion was so catastrophic that it was recorded on the Richter Scale and parts of the bunker were found hundreds of metres away from ground zero.”
The retirees said that this was considered the darkest day for national security officers to date and the Government in honour of the six heroes later dedicated April 26 of each year National Security Officers Day of Appreciation.
Late yesterday afternoon the T&T Regiment issued a brief statement saying they had noticed “fires along partial areas of the hillsides in the vicinity of the outskirts of the Support and Service Battalion, Teteron Barracks.”
It said that immediate steps had been taken to mitigate its effects.
The regiment said there was no damage to property or injuries to anyone as they worked closely alongside the T&T Fire Service.
The statement ended, “From preliminary investigations, the fires have been attributed to the yearly dry season, which with it, creates conditions for brush fires to occur.”