Renovations to the ground floor of the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters in Road Town are finally commencing after more than three years of delays.
During a ceremony on Tuesday, Metro Construction LLC was awarded a contract of $332,206.73 to carry out the work.
“Good things come to those who wait,” Fire Chief Zebalon McLean told the Beacon after the ceremony.“I’m thankful that however belated I think the work has come, at least it has, and I’m glad that we’re getting the attention that we deserve now.”
In the 2017 hurricanes, the fire station lost its communication equipment, office supplies, uniforms, three vehicles, and beds. In December 2018, the previous administration signed an $800,000 contract with Quality Construction Limited to complete the first phase of the rebuild.
At the time, some officers had been suffering illnesses from chronic leakage and mould in the building, according to Mr. McLean.
The first phase, which was completed last year, included repairs to the roof and the upstairs offices. But at that time, Mr. McLean said that he could not sit comfortably in a refurbished upper floor while his team suffered poor conditions below.
By last September, the station still needed hurricane shutters and barracks.
Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer said in January of this year that works to the barracks would commence in the first quarter of this year.
During the contract-signing ceremony on Tuesday morning,
Premier Andrew Fahie thanked firefighters for their service and dedication.
“This building served as temporary shelter for many families during many hurricanes and floods, while at the same time providing sleeping quarters for fire teams as they rotate during shifts,” Mr. Fahie said. “It was never imagined that hurricanes Irma and Maria would severely impact this building in 2017.”
Brain Marshall, a representative from Metro Construction, also spoke briefly at the ceremony.
“It’s on my behalf of Metro Construction that we accept this contract and commit and guarantee that this project will finish on time and in budget,” he said.
The premier also announced during the ceremony that the government has ordered a review of every public officer’s salary.
“People have to start being paid what they are worth, and this includes our fire officers,” he said. “Now, hope is not only on the way: Hope is here. … We are taking care of you.”