Water Rationing Hinders Fire Operation In Irishtown LK Hewlett Officers forced to pump sea water Fire Officers extinguishing a recent late night fire in Irishtown were forced to turn to the nearby sea due to the fact the water in the area was turned off under the mandatory water rationing initiative. Fire and Rescue responded to a fire report in Janet Alley, in the vicinity of the Gardens Housing Apartments, at around 2:35am and met a one room home on fire. Officers had arrived with the tender filled with water, Acting Fire Chief Everett O’Garro informed The Observer, however when that was depleted, luckily the unit was parked on the Bay Road and the officers were able to use a portable pump to get water from the sea. “They can only carry up to 750 gallons, and to extinguish a good sized fire that wouldn’t be any water at all. During the operation we would have run out of water…at that time of night there was no water in that particular area,” he said. While officers pumped sea water from the coast bordering the main road the Fire appliance stationed at the RLB Airport was summoned and joined the battle. Meanwhile the first tender went to fill up “just as a backup”, O’Garro said. The occupant of the home, David Rawlins, told officers he was inside and started feeling a heat and smelling smoke. He was able to get out of the house and call for help. Unfortunately for him, everything was destroyed in the fire. Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire as the resident claimed he’d had a confrontation with a male from the area prior to the incident, and the man had threatened to burn down his house. With the current critically low levels of available water in St. Kitts, the Fire and Rescue Services has had to change the way it operates with regard to the use of the resource, O’Garro explained, especially when it came to bush fires. “Definitely we have to change the way we operate especially when it comes to bushfires. We would have to do more monitoring than extinguishing; it’s about saving as much water as possible. “We have also put in place other measures we can use to conserve water.” The Department will soon issue a Public Service Announcement to inform residents that by law Fire and Rescue can take water from any cistern or other source without authorization. “We would just have to replenish it after the operation is over. We are just informing people so they know what could happen if we are faced with that situation,” the Fire Chief pointed out.