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Updated: Bovoni Landfill Fire Extinguished

Updated: July 10 | 6:00 p.m.

After days of efforts, the scrap metal fire at the Bovoni Landfill has been extinguished on Monday, Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services announced.

“Emergencies require quick thinking and adaptability. Our response teams exemplify these qualities, consistently rising to the occasion and delivering exceptional service to our community,” said Director Daryl A. George.

As the immediate threat has been mitigated, VIFEMS advises residents to continue to limit their exposure to residual smoke and seek medical attention if experiencing any respiratory issues. Also, follow the Department of Health and Department of Planning and Natural Resources recommendations and updates regarding air quality and health advisories is vital, said VIFEMS. 

VIFEMS expressed appreciation to the coordinating entities for their invaluable assistance during the suppression operations. The Virgin Islands Port Authority Airport Fire & Rescue, St. Thomas Rescue, V.I. Police Department, EMS Unit, and the Department of Health played crucial roles in responding to the incident and providing necessary resources and expertise, according to the press release. 

Updated: July 9 | 8:15 p.m.

Dedicated fire crews remain on the scene as the Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services contained 98 percent of the fire at the Bovoni Landfill on Sunday, the agency announced.

The fire at the Bovoni Landfill is mostly under control. (Photo by Virgin Islands Fire and Emergency Medical Services )

Since the initial response on Friday, VIFEMS has been actively suppressing the fire, however, due to the complex nature of the incident, operations are still ongoing, according to Sunday’s update. The fire crews are working diligently to address the remaining hot spots and douse the surrounding areas to prevent potential flare-ups, it said. VIFEMS’s continuous monitoring of the situation is crucial in ensuring the fire is fully extinguished and preventing further spread, according to the press release. 

“We are grateful to the responding firefighters and response crews for their unwavering dedication and tireless efforts in combating this challenging incident. We also appreciate the support and understanding shown by the community during this time. We remain committed to protecting lives, property, and the environment,” said Director Daryl George. 

VIFEMS urges nearby residents and drivers to exercise caution in the Bovoni area and follow any traffic instructions provided by authorities. “The safety and well-being of the community are our top priorities, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation progresses,” the release stated. 

Extinguished portions of the current landfill fire in Bovoni. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)

Updated: July 08 | 1:30 p.m.

V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services and emergency response crews have been battling the ongoing fire at the Bovoni landfill throughout the night. Unfortunately, the fire has spread to an adjacent pile due to winds on-site, necessitating continued suppression operations, said VIFEMS.

Emergency responder working to contain and suppress the ongoing landfill fire. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)

“The fire is contained underground in cars, and once one section is put out, unfortunately, another starts to burn. It could take anywhere from a couple of hours to another day to put out,” said Director Darryl George.

“I extend my deepest gratitude to the courageous men and women as they tirelessly fight to extinguish this fire,” said George.

Private citizens and businesses have generously donated food and refreshments to our crews on-site. “Your support has provided much-needed sustenance and has boosted the morale of our dedicated responders. We also thank the public agencies that have  continued providing resources and assistance to support our mission.” He stated.

 Residents and businesses in the affected communities are strongly advised to take precautions to protect their respiratory health and overall well-being. An extended smoke advisory has been issued by VIFEMS as the fire’s impact on air quality in the surrounding areas is expected to persist, according to the press release.

VIFEMS urges the impacted communities to strictly adhere to the safety and health guidelines provided by the VI Department of Health, DPNR, and VIFEMS until further notice.

“Together, we will persevere and emerge even stronger, ensuring the safety and well-being of our community,” said George.

Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that broke out Friday at the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that broke out Friday at the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)
Firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that broke out Friday at the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)
St. Thomas Rescue is advising nearby residents to stay indoors and close their windows and doors after a fire broke out Friday at the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)

V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Director Daryl George has issued an alert requesting all off-duty firefighters to respond as soon as possible to a blaze that broke out Friday afternoon at the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill on St. Thomas.

The fire, which is producing plumes of thick black smoke, comes on the heels of a multi-building fire in downtown Charlotte Amalie early Thursday morning that injured two firefighters, and another Thursday afternoon that destroyed a multi-story rental unit in the area of Cassi Hill on St. Thomas.

The V.I. Waste Management Authority said in a statement that the fire is in the scrap metal receiving area just before the entrance to the landfill. It is asking the public to stay away from the area, and noted the landfill is closed for the rest of the day.

The fire can potentially release hazardous smoke and airborne particles into the surrounding areas, VIFEMS warned in a press release just before 4 p.m. Friday, and urged people in nearby communities to stay indoors.

“We strongly advise residents, especially those with respiratory issues, young children, and older adults, to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities until further notice. Minimizing exposure to smoke and airborne particles is crucial for maintaining good respiratory health,” the release stated. 

Among the recommendations are to keep windows and doors of homes, offices, and other establishments in the affected area closed to prevent the entry of smoke and pollutants, VIFEMS said. Use air conditioning units or air purifiers with HEPA filters, if available, to maintain indoor air quality. 

Residents are also urged to avoid strenuous activities that can lead to increased inhalation of pollutants. It is recommended to avoid rigorous exercise or actions that may cause heavy breathing, especially outdoors. 

“If you must venture outdoors, utilize N95 or P100 respirator masks, which can effectively filter out fine particles from the air. These masks provide a layer of protection against harmful substances present in the smoke,” the release stated.

The V.I. Waste Management Authority said in a statement that the fire is in the scrap metal receiving area just before the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)
The V.I. Waste Management Authority said in a statement that the fire is in the scrap metal receiving area just before the entrance to the Bovoni Landfill. (Photo courtesy VIFEMS)
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