For the second time in as many months, fire broke out inside the Mon Repos Fire Headquarters, prompting officers to call for an immediate rewiring of the entire building.
Throughout Sunday night and for most of the day on Monday, the headquarters, situated at the San Fernando Bye-Pass remained without an electricity supply.
Fire officers said the heat was unbearable in the facility, adding that the toilets were dirty as the water pumps were dysfunctional.
The fire started around 6:20 pm, in an electrical metre inside the engineering section.
The officers used a fire extinguisher to quickly bring the fire under control and a T&TEC crew later arrived and took away the metre.
A generator was subsequently brought in to power the lights.
A source who requested anonymity said two weeks ago, the Electrical Inspectorate declared the wiring unsafe and gave the T&T Fire Service 14 days to rectify the problems. "Last month there was smoke coming from the wiring and this prompted us to call in the inspectorate," the source said.
The point of entrance cable was changed along with the metre base.
However, when checked the electrical changes were given a failed grade and the T&T Fire Services were given some more time to do further work.
The building is usually occupied by almost 100 people during the day and 30 plus at nights.
Fire-fighters who were interviewed said since the fire, their work conditions have been deplorable.
"We need the building rewired because this is not safe. "We need a proper electricity supply to fill Breathing Apparatus cylinders and that pulls a lot of current.
The gas pumps also pulls a lot of current when fuelling the vehicles as well as the compressor. The entire building is now air-conditioned and the old electrical wiring cannot take that load," the source said.
The officers also called for the electrical panels to be changed to accommodate the additional electrical load adding that if it was not fixed properly then a fire could raze the fire station.
Apart from the fire hazards, officers also called for better maintenance of fire appliances and other vehicles.
"Many of the vehicles used by fire officers have been given a failed grade by the licensing department. There are good vehicles which need simple parts like a filter or a clutch which are being parked up in the stations and left to rot," the source said.
In Rio Claro and Point Fortin stations, the fire appliances have failed inspections yet they are being used. This is a hazard to officers. In Mon Repos there are four tankers being left in a state of disrepair. One is used for extreme emergencies despite defects. The tankers carry water 10,000 litres and above," the source added.
He explained that one of the four tankers leaks water and a portable pump is used to get water out because the tanker's pump is defective. The sewer system inside the Mon Repos station is also faulty.
"A fleet of BT 50 vehicles bought for the Fire Services recently are breaking down because of poor maintenance," the senior source added.
Officers also said they were being asked to work in Petrotrin's refinery but they were not being outfitted with thermofoil fire suits which keep out the heat. He also explained that newly recruited fire officers were not being given proper working gear.
A Whatsapp message was sent yesterday to National Security Minister Stuart Young asking for a comment but although the message was read, no response was forthcoming.
President of the T&T Fire Service Association Leo Ramkissoon also did not answer his cellphone and could not be reached for comment.