The Virgin Gorda landfill caught fire early Sunday morning, sending smoke across the sister island for several hours.

However, the Department of Waste Management claimed that new protocols led to early notification and action to quickly address the issue.

Recently appointed DWM Director Marcus Solomon said his agency was notified of smoke coming from the landfill at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday.

The fire department was subsequently notified, but “due to the nature of the site and the terrain, a decision was made to employ the assistance of water trucks to manage the situation,” according to a government press release issued late Sunday afternoon.

Sometime after 10:30 p.m. Saturday, the water trucks went to the site to wet the area, but a fire broke out sometime after 3 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Solomon said.

‘Intermittent smoke’

He added that the water trucks were able to put out the blaze, though there were still pockets of fire emerging as well as continued smoke.

“As a result, residents in and around the area may experience intermittent smoke and ashes,” he said Sunday afternoon. “Persons with respiratory conditions who live or are visiting the area are asked to take the necessary health precautions.”

Mr. Solomon thanked the management and staff of the water trucks for their help in identifying, controlling, and extinguishing the fires.

“We continue to review our disposal processes at all our sites, and the necessary investigation into this fire will be conducted to strengthen our fire mitigation procedures,” he said. “We are asking the community to alert us if they see any hazardous, flammable or combustible material at any of our landfill sites.”

To learn more about the proper handling of flammable materials, call the DWM at 468-4934.

New Waste Director Appointed

An environment specialist who previously worked in Trinidad and Tobago has been appointed to head the Department of Waste Management, government announced Monday. Marcus Solomon’s appointment as department director comes at a time when the government is struggling to handle a multi-pronged waste crisis that includes a broken incinerator in Pockwood Pond and landfills on Tortola and Virgin Gorda that regularly catch fire.

He replaces Neville Allen, who was acting in the position.

Mr. Solomon previously served for nearly five years as head of policy, planning and strategy services at the Solid Waste Management Company Limited in Trinidad and Tobago, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Before that, he served as a senior planning specialist at the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Public Utilities. In that role, he performed an assessment of public utilities including water and