Published 15th September 2016, 3:31pm
The West Bay Fire Station held a reopening ceremony on Wednesday, 14 September 2016 to showcase the new and improved facility.
Ministry officials, government leaders and community members gathered at the station to celebrate and honour those who made the reopening possible.
Extensive repairs commenced on the West Bay substation in late July, to combat a mould problem caused by the air-conditioning system due to condensation in the air ducts. All firefighting efforts were temporarily relocated to the Ed Bush Sports Complex until the renovation was complete.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin gave the opening remarks at the ceremony, and welcomed all West Bay firefighters back home to their station.
“With the efforts of Chief David Hails and the Ministry of Home Affairs, I am happy to say that the problems have been completely fixed and today you have a brand new air-condition system as well as new furniture,” said Mr. McLaughlin. “And you once again have a safe and healthy working environment.”
The Premier also acknowledged all local fire fighters for their bravery and courageous efforts to keep our islands safe.
“I also use this occasion to remind the broader public of the important work you do and to take this opportunity to thank you for doing it; for running toward the danger so that the rest of us can be safe,” he said.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson also delivered remarks, and recognised the collaborative efforts made from multiple Ministries and the Public Works Department to provide the improvements to the station.
“It is very pleasing for me to see us all working together,” he said. “I know this has been a problem for a while, but I am glad we were able to effectively deal with it. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project, thank you fire officers for fighting fires and all the tremendous work that you do for us.”
West Bay MLA Tara Rivers also expressed gratitude to the fire officials who represent the district of West Bay, and thanked them for serving the community as everyday heroes.
“I am happy to be a part of a government that supported these major improvements to your working conditions and your lives here, because we ask you to risk your life on a day-to-day basis, and the least we can do is to make sure you don’t put your lives in unnecessary danger,” she said.
Chief Fire Officer David Hails gave the closing remarks, and said he was overwhelmed by the support he received from the Ministries. Mr. Hails stated the air-conditioning units have been fixed at all Cayman Islands’ fire stations.
“This renovation demonstrates the support which has been given to us by the Premier, the Deputy Governor and the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs Wesley Howell,” he said.
Mr. Hails also mentioned other improvements such as new firefighting equipment that will benefit all fire officers, as well as members of the community in need.
“We’ve really only scratched the surface, there is a long way to go,” he explained. “My aim is to transform the Cayman Islands Fire Service into the premier fire service within the Caribbean and beyond. That’s my dream, that’s my aim.”
The renovations to the West Bay Fire Station cost $35,000.