After a 17-year delay, firefighters in Old Harbour now have a modern Fire Station from which to work and in which to live. With the construction of the Old Harbour Fire Station having been completed at a cost of $59.7 million, the spanking new facility was officially opened on Tuesday, May 19 by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.
The newly constructed Fire Station, which will house 32 firefighters and 2 civilians is fully operational and ready to serve the quickly developing township that has a population of approximately 35,000.
In his address, the Local Government Minister announced that the investments made by the Government in the Jamaica Fire Brigade, especially over the last four years, have led to major infrastructural works on Fire Stations which have begun to bear fruit this year. “This will be a busy year for the opening of fire stations. We have to celebrate 60 years of greatness of the JFB, and we are going to make the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence a good one with the JFB at the forefront because the men and women deserve it.
“This Administration took a clear position that the infrastructure of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, from fire trucks to fire stations must be rehabilitated and expanded as part of the effort to create a modern society, and as part of the drive to implement the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.”
In addition to works at other Fire Stations, the three major Fire Stations being built under the Jamaica Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, Barnett Street in Montego Bay, Yallahs in St. Thomas and Port Maria in St. Mary are expected to be officially opened this year.
In his remarks, Commissioner of the JFB Stewart Beckford was ecstatic about the opening of the new Fire Station. “Today indeed marks a very important milestone for the St. Catherine Division generally, but more importantly, for the Old Harbour Fire Station. Our firefighters have shown great resilience over many years, not only through their service, but also through their occupancy of facilities that have been less than ideal. The opening of this Fire Station is one more important symbol of the efforts that are being carried out to rehabilitate and build new fire stations all around the country. After 17 years, I am beyond happy that we finally have a proper facility for our firefighters in Old Harbour. Their morale will be highly elevated, and our emergency response times in Old Harbour and its environs will be significantly shortened.”