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OSHA crackdown after 2nd factory goes up in flames

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Fireman toss aside destroyed sheets of galvanise as they attempt to get to the blaze which destroyed the Lil furniture factory at Mt Hope yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

The T&T Fire Service will be cracking down on factory owners who are not complying with the Occupational, Safety and Health Act. The announcement comes in the wake of another industrial fire which destroyed Lil Industries, a furniture factory, yesterday at Riverside Avenue, Mt Lambert. On Tuesday, fire destroyed the manufacturing company Thermoplas Ltd at Tissue Drive, Trincity Industrial Estate. In an interview at the scene of yesterday’s fire, acting assistant Chief Fire Officer for Northern Division, Delano George, said: “In some situations, the Chief Fire Officer is considering the level of safety at the factories. Just yesterday (on Tuesday) there was another fire at the Trincity Industrial Estate. 

“There are owners that are not complying with the OSH Act. The Chief Fire Officer, along with the Ministry of National Security, will be cracking down on them.” Approximately 27 employees yesterday scampered for safety as two loud explosions rocked the Lil Industries factory. These workers were placed on the breadline as the fire completely destroyed two structures on the compound. The fire caused a traffic jam along the Eastern Main Road as fire appliances raced to the scene. George said there were owners of companies which were not trained in fire-fighting and evacuation procedures.

He added: “Workers from the floor above raised an alarm and everyone scattered. “The building was well lit and the fire quickly spread to the adjacent building where furniture, thinners and lacquers are stored. “The fire started due to a malfunctioning motor attached to a machine that sparked around 12.15 pm,” he said. George said there was an adequate amount of water as three water tenders from the Water and Sewerage Authority assisted. He said the collapsing structure and thinners stored on the premises provided problems for firemen.
Losses were not calculated yesterday. George said that would be determine today.

He said the owner of the property, Allan Walker, was interviewed at the scene. Officers of the San Juan, Wrightson Road and Tunapuna Fire Stations responded. Senior Supt Stephen Ramsubhag and Supt Dinand Naipaul visited the scene. Fire Prevention officers are continuing investigations.


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