Sirens could be heard from all directions of Bridgetown as police, Fire Service, Defence Force and Roving Response personnel responded to what was initially being treated as a chemical fire at the Bridgetown Sewage Treatment Plant in Lake’s Folly, The City.
With that stretch of road from its junction with St Mary’s Row closed, traffic snarled as police tried to get the stretch between the traffic lights from the Cheapside end of Fontabelle up to Jubilee Gardens cleared with little success.
One motorist told Barbados TODAY she had been sitting in her vehicle for close to 45 minutes.
By the General Post Office, people mulled about the steps, as an officer, his voice seemingly going hoarse, was constantly telling pedestrians to clear the area. However, seemingly oblivious to was going on mere few hundred metres away, the pedestrians continued with their Christmas shopping.
This prompted a question to police public relations officer Inspector David Welch about the status of the Bridgetown Emergency Traffic Management Plan.
“There is no update on that as yet,” he said of the plan, which was first tested in 2008, though no other wide-scale tests have seemingly been done.
“We can’t really say that we have the plan down pat, but what we would have seen is that although we would have asked motorists to evacuate the area, they used the feeder road to come into the area.”
The senior lawmen lamented what this disregard by members of the public could have resulted in, had the situation been worse, in the evacuation exercise being ramped up to one of rescue.
By late evening police and fire officers reported that the fire was largely under control, even though there were still a few hot spots being dealt with.
Having determined that the suspected chlorine was not in the air, they gave the all-clear to residents who were earlier evacuated to return home.
Officials also said that services at the sewage treatment plant, which handles the waste from The City and surrounding areas, would be back up and running come nightfall. Late evening attempts to reach the Barbados Water Authority, which manages the plant, for comment were unsuccessful, as Barbados TODAY was informed officials were in meetings. [email protected]