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National Fire Service Headquarters Operating on Borrowed Space and Time

The National Fire Service headquarters is operating from its location on Cleghorn Street on borrowed time since the property was sold to Atlantic Bank Limited by the previous administration. While a possible site for a new headquarters was identified on Chetumal Street the current administration has expressed concerns over the distance from the center of the city. Love News spoke with the Minister responsible for the NFS, Orlando Habet for an update on the matter.

Orlando Habet, Minister of Disaster Risk Management: “The location on Chetumal Street also was being occupied I guess by squatters and also needs a lot of monies for filling. So we had to look for an alternative location and we were in conversation with the Ministry of Aviation who were assigning us a parcel of land by the Municipal Airstrip to do the small building that would serve both the Municipal Airstrip and also the fire department. We have also looked a location at the Marion Jones Stadium that would give us a temporary area for us to deploy our fire engines to do their work and to house one or two of the firefighters at that location just temporarily so that they could move from there when there was a fire.”

In this week’s Cabinet meeting the nod had been given to upgrade the existing fire stations around the country including the villages of Ladvyille, Trial Farm, Independence and Placencia. Minister Habet told Love News that due to lack of funding they will be sharing just over two million dollars for the upgrades.

Orlando Habet, Minister of Disaster Risk Management: “We proposed to Cabinet at last Cabinet’s meeting to utilize those monies and spread it out throughout the country, still do a smaller headquarters in Belize City but also build four or five new fire stations: one in Orange Walk, one in Placencia, one in Independence and also to do an area at Ladyville which would serve as a service station for all the trucks throughout the entire country. We are also getting from the MLO a new fire station hopefully soon for San Ignacio also and then we also used the monies to do refurbishment for all the other four of five fire stations including San Pedro, Benque, Corozal and Caye Caulker and so we utilize the monies in that fashion. So Cabinet decided that whilst it is a good idea that we should still look at the area at Chetumal Street because it would have room for expansion so we can still build a smaller building now but design it in such a fashion that it can expand eventually which makes a lot of sense. So we will be meeting with Minister Hyde and Minister Julius responsible for housing to look at the area and come up with a proper design. But we have looked at the design of the smaller stations similar to the one that Spanish Lookout has which has an office and can house two fire trucks in that particular unit and it can withstand a category 3 – category 4 hurricane.”