Officials from the Barbados Fire Service are still trying to determine the cause of a fire, which injured two men when it engulfed a 300,000-gallon alcohol tank at the distillery of one of Barbados’ largest producers of rum.
Just after 2 o’clock this afternoon, ambulance workers, police officers, and over two dozen fire officers all rushed to the premises of Mount Gay Distillery’s Ltd. in Mount Gay, St Lucy in an attempt to minimize any injury or damage.
By 5 p.m, the blaze was under control, but the threat of danger remained.
“The roof of the tank has been ruptured, allowing the flames to escape,” said Deputy Chief Fire Officer Henderson Patrick, who added that fire officers were applying alcohol resistant foam to the tank, which contained approximately 150,000 gallons of alcohol at the time of the blaze.
He warned that if the fire continued, the integrity of the tank could be breached, which could result in additional challenges. Nevertheless, he said given the nature of the fire, it would continue to burn for some time.
“There is enough satisfaction in the operations that we are conducting because the tank itself is contained within a bund wall [intended to prevent the escape of potentially polluting substances] that is really designed to hold the contents of the tank in the event that it is ruptured.”
However, he said in the case of a violent rupture, other buildings could be put at risk.
Two employees of Mount Gay were injured in the blaze, but Patrick indicated that based on his understanding, those injuries were not serious.
Senior manager at the St Lucy-based distillery, Moya Lambert, told Barbados TODAY the company would not be issuing a statement just yet.
As it related to the cause of the fire, the Deputy Fire Chief said it would take time to gather all of the pertinent information. He, however, indicated that two people were working near the tank at the time, “and that may have contributed to the incident.”