A fire that broke out at the George Town landfill around noon on Wednesday was extinguished after about three hours.
At one point, the fire covered a 100-by-300 foot area of the landfill.
The Department of Environmental Health, which operates the landfill, stated that fire officers from the Central and West Bay fire stations, along with off-duty personnel, had worked to fight the fire. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service helicopter was also on the scene, using thermal imaging equipment to assess the fire.
“Upon arrival, we found the fire was located on south side of the main landfill at the top access road,” Chief Fire Officer David Hails said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “An area of approximately 100 feet by 300 feet was fully engulfed. Fire officers with the Central and West Bay fire stations immediately took action, with the Frank Sound station on standby in case further assistance was needed.”
He added, “It seems the fire started on the surface, and there does not seem to be any deep seated fires at this time.”
Chief Hails said fire officers would continue to check for any possible hot spots that may have developed by using thermal imaging equipment on the site and that fire crews would remain on site overnight to monitor the situation.
No injuries were reported.
The Department of Environmental Health advised that the landfill remains closed until further notice, as is the public drop-off point.
A detailed report will be provided as soon as a full assessment of the situation is carried out by the Department of Health’s operations team, the department stated.
Caitlin Crumpton, the marketing and communications manager at Cayman International School, said classes at the school were canceled after the fire broke out Wednesday.
Although smoke was not affecting the campus and there was no immediate danger, the cancellation was made as a precautionary measure, she said.
Landfill fires have been on the decline in recent years. There was only one landfill fire in 2016, which is down from 40 in 2011, according to figures from the Compendium of Statistics.
Mark Rowlands, assistant director at the Department of Environmental Health with responsibility for solid waste, said last October that operational changes at the George Town site had largely dealt with the problem.
He said at the time the “working area” had been radically reduced to around 60 feet in width, and marl and fill material is now used to cover waste at 10-foot intervals. The smaller area is much easier to manage, he said, and the layers prevent any fires that might break out from spreading deep within the landfill.
“It is standard best-management practice for a landfill site,” he said.