Fire & Ambulance Officials disclose that while their building suffered extensive damage during the passage of Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017, they were forced to mount several “search and rescue missions” to save people who were in difficulties.
Sub Station Officer and Public Relations Officer (PRO) Wayne Letang of the Dominica Fire & Ambulance Service said it was a “horrifying night for fire officers. We first had a call from the Chief Fire Officer that all Fire Officers who were off duty, and all those on leave should report to the nearest fire station”.
PRO Wayne Letang explained that all eight fire stations on the island were manned. He said, “all our fire stations were impacted in one way or other by Hurricane Maria. In Roseau, our entire upper floor was affected, and the officers had to seek shelter in a tight space downstairs, where they sought rescue”.
He continued, “It must be noted that the Roseau River also affected the fire station in Roseau as its waters entered and caused significant damage. During the night it was extremely difficult for us, since we were flooded and had to rescue a number of people. In fact, a man from River Street came with two children for rescue, and told us about some foreign nationals who were swept away by the raging waters, and we had to also go and assist others who were distressed.”
“Some walked in during the storm; we also received several calls about people asking for help. We braved the weather and went as far as Loubiere. It was just a terrible night that we don’t want to remember. Fire officers were all hands on deck, hats off to them all, amidst the challenge that we faced.”
Asked for an estimated cost of the damages done to the fire stations on the island, Letang said the figure was still being put together and he expects it to be “big.”
Letang also praised fire officers who braved the weather and went to rescue people and all those who “for days camped in the cramped and wet conditions at the fire station assisting in all ways.”
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