Landfill fire sends smoke into GT harbour

A smoky fire at the George Town landfill that broke out in the early morning hours of Thursday was said to be under control, but it sent billowing clouds over much of town for several hours

Landfill personnel said the fire was reported around 5am Thursday and that fire officers on scene had managed to control the flames. Fire crews said the flames were first noticed around 3.30am.

No injuries were reported. 

Drivers heading in on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway Thursday morning noted a light grey smoke floating across the road, but views from the third and fourth floors of nearby buildings revealed that smoke from the fire had reached all the way to the George Town harbour. 

On Harbour Drive, light smoke could be seen enveloping and flowing past two cruise ships anchored there.  Dozens of people out early on the streets were looking in the direction of the fire and wondering what was happened.

“Welcome to the Cayman Islands!” joked one of the crew members of the Jolly Roger pirate ship. 

“A lot of these people, where they come from, they probably get worse,” said the crew member – who wanted to be identified by his name aboard the ship – ‘Gunpowder West’. “You don’t want [cruise ship tourists] greeted by a cloud from the dump.” 

Staffers at Atlantis tours said smoke from landfill fires has flowed into the harbour on previous occasions. The last time it happened was in 2010, they said. 

A statement on the fire was released by government late Thursday. It indicated the blaze had been contained to a northwestern corner of the landfill.

Chief Fire Officer Dennom Bodden said the blaze was deep-seated, and that excavators had to be used to dig down into the trash piles to get the root of the fire.

“This is a long process,” Mr. Bodden said.

Mr. Bodden hoped the flames could be extinguished by Thursday evening.




  1. No big deal, this has happened before. The fire will burn itself out and we can go blissfully on using this dump and ignoring the problem.
    Shut down this dump and open the dart landfill after preparing it. What is it going to take to wake people up to the seriousness of this issue?

  2. This sends a terrible message to visitors of the Cayman Islands, especially in these days of ecological responsibility. Once again we are behind the curve.

  3. Unfortunately, it’s not just smoke. The cloud includes particulates (or soot) that contain all sorts of harmful materials. These end up spread over the land and deposited in the sea.

    It happened where I used to work in the South of England and the fallout over a very environmentally sensitive area included measurable levels of dioxins.