Promised fire truck is finally landed, but source claims it has no ladder or foam-dispersal capacity

The fire tender that was expected to arrive on island last Thursday, May 19, is finally landed.

A source tells REAL News the engine arrived on island Tuesday night, May 24; was offloaded this morning, Wednesday, May 25; and is currently at the St. John’s Port.

According to the source, this truck does not come equipped with a ladder.  He describes it as a regular truck that has water capacity and not foam.

The State’s media house has shared photos of the truck widely, but not everyone is impressed.  “That fire truck is new only to Antigua,” a civil servant says cryptically, pointing to the worn appearance of its bumper.

Other residents tell REAL News they do not understand what the hoopla is all about, given the current situation of severe under-equipping of all the stations, except the airport.

Last week, Public Safety Minister Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin reported to his Cabinet colleagues that “another fire truck will be landing at the Port… to supplement those that have already been deployed.” 

However, United Progressive Party Political Leader Harold Lovell called him out for his use of deceptive language, pointing out that no other engines had been commissioned.

On March 23 – after several families lost their homes in major blazes – the Cabinet pledged to purchase four fire tenders, since the country had only one functional truck to service the entire island at the time.

In the absence of tenders, private citizens have been coming to the aid of the Fire Department and offering the use of their water trucks.