A massive forest fire in Irish Town, St Andrew has residents fearing for their lives. Caretaker for the area, Joan Gordon-Webley said that the current situation is “really, really bad.”
“From last week, sections of Irish Town, Queen Hill and Tower Hill have been affected by the fire – it has now climbed the hill and has spread to the Mavis Bank coffee farms, Mavis Bank and Flankstead communities,” she stressed.
She further explained that the fire raged all of last night and this morning and only seems to be getting worse.
“The smoke is so thick, you can hardly breathe. This area of the mountain is covered in bamboo and pine trees and everything is burning,” said Gordon-Webley.
According to Gordon-Webley, heavy winds are thwarting the efforts of men in these communities as “the wind is so severe, it is blowing the sparks everywhere.”
“I hear that there are two fire units at another end of the fire, but no one is here as yet. As we speak everything is pitch black and right now the men [of the community] are trying to send the fire back until they [the Fire Brigade] arrive,” she noted.
Gordon-Webley added that she has personally contacted the Jamaica Fire Brigade to no avail. Her main concerns at the moment are persons being trapped as the fire spreads.
“About 40 women and children are trapped as there is burning bamboo blocking the road – our greatest enemy is the wind at this point,” contended Gordon Webley.
“I recommend that they use some aircraft to combat the fire as no vehicle can access the roads; I fear for my residents,” she said.
Its understood that at least four fire units have been dispatched to the area and a helicopter has been dispatched to douse the fire. It is the second such fire in the last four weeks.