Tractors moved burnt rubble out of the Pockwood Pond incinerator following a fire early Monday morning. (Photo: PROVIDED)

Seven firefighters aboard two trucks extinguished a blaze that badly damaged the Pockwood Pond incinerator plant early Monday morning, Chief Fire Officer Zebalon McLean said yesterday.

The fire did not threaten any of the surrounding structures, and the firefighters were able to put it out in roughly seven hours without injury, Mr. McLean said.

The chief declined to comment on the cause of the fire or detail the extent of the damage, as the Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Waste Management are carrying out a joint investigation, he said.

A Monday video that Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone posted on his Facebook page showed a hose shooting water into the incinerator building at night while mounds of trash continued to burn.

Another video shows tractors removing smouldering rubble from the building and dumping it on the ground outside.

“An initial assessment of the damages is being undertaken and would be communicated,” Mr. Malone wrote.

“The public is advised that a number of measures would be implemented to safely dispose of the waste transported to the landfill without the risk of additional spontaneous combustion.”

Mr. Malone, HSD Permanent Secretary Tasha Bertie, and DWM officials did immediately return requests for comment yesterday morning.

Previous fire

This is not the first time afire has disrupted the plant’s operations.

A blaze in November 2018 left it inoperable for more than a year.

Even after a new control panel was installed in January 2020 and the incinerator resumed operations, it continued to suffer failures that left it shuttered for weeks at a time.

Starting in March 2021, for instance, the incinerator shut down for about six weeks because of a faulty hydraulic pump, during which time residents complained about fires and smoke rising from the landfill behind it.