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PM opens new-look Black River Fire Station

BLACK RIVER, St. Elizabeth: The capacity of the Black River Fire Station has increased to respond to the needs of the 65 communities it serves in St. Elizabeth following the construction of a new stationhouse.

Capital works to the tune of $77 million was expended on the facility to improve its working conditions.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness cut ribbon on February 21 marking the official opening event that was also attended by Minister of Local Government, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, and Commissioner of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Mr. Stewart Beckford.

“An important element of public administration is that there are emergency services. If your Fire Brigade is not appropriately housed, your ability to respond will be limited, if at all,” shared PM Holness.

“The Black River Fire Station was established in 1934 and it went through a few phases of renovation, but it fell into a serious state of disrepair. The fire station is an important symbol of community in any country in the world.”

He also lauded the staff of the Black River Fire Station for their patience and professionalism exhibited during the project.

“I want to commend the men and women of the fire brigade because even though the circumstances a few months ago were less than ideal, I did not hear any complaints…the men and women still turned up and were always ready to render service when called,” added the Prime Minister.

“It is only fair that the Government compliments this genuine disposal to service within the ranks of the Jamaica Fire Brigade by giving you the appropriate facilities and equipment for you to effectively carry out your duties.”

In addition to the cost of the construction, $15m was spent on equipment and a further $7.8m on furnishing. The facility houses approximately 109 firefighters.

Minister McKenzie disclosed that approximately $1.1 billion have been sent to construct new fire stations at Barnett Street in Montego Bay; Old Harbour, Port Maria, and Yallahs.

“This newly constructed fire station will add to the list of facilities, Prime Minister, under your administration that have been completed since 2018. Presently work is advanced on the new Ulster Spring Fire Station being constructed at a cost of $153 million.”

According to the Minister, 19 fire stations have been renovated across the country. He also underscored the Government’s performance acquisition of two fire boats for the JFB.

“For years, the Brigade operated without, and I’m pleased to announce that in this new financial year, a third boat at a cost of US$7 million will be added to the capacity of the Brigade to respond on sea and even land if it becomes necessary.”

The scope of works for the new-look Black River Fire Station included the addition of female and male dormitories; offices for the ground command; paving of the compound; erection of perimeter fencing; and drainage improvement.