80.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, May 30, 2024


Nov. 22, 2001 – Progress is being made toward getting V.I. Fire Services to where it needs to be, according to its director, Ian Williams Sr.
Williams expects to hire eight firefighters for St. Croix and 16 for St. Thomas/St. John, and the agency is in the midst of interviewing applicants, he said. With the additional personnel in place, he plans to reopen the fire stations at Cotton Valley on St. Croix and in Dorothea on St. Thomas. He also expects to build a new station in Fortuna with $300,000 appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2001 supplemental budget approved last summer.
The Cotton Valley station has been closed for about a year. Dorothea closed in 1998 and the Fortuna station, several years ago.
Donald Charles, Fires Services assistant director, said the Fortuna station had been housed in a trailer, with the fire trucks parked in a shed. "It was inadequate as far as security goes," he said.
Also, Charles said, Fire Services did not have authority to use the land, which is controlled by the V.I. Housing Authority. "We were squatters," he said. Negotiations are under way with the Housing Authority now so that Fire Services can legally use the property, he said.
Williams said money to hire firefighters was appropriated under both the FY 2001 supplemental budget and the FY 2002 regular budget. Those firefighters hired will begin training in late November, he said, and by February, they should be on the job.
"We will not put all the rookies in one location," Williams said. Existing personnel will be shifted around so that the newly opened fire stations will have a complement of experienced as well as new firefighters.
Williams also said that repairs to various stations are completed, nearly so, or in the pipeline. Repair work at the Charlotte Amalie station adjacent to the Fort Christian Museum is 95 percent done, he said, and Fire Services is awaiting approval from the Historic Preservation Commission to renovate the firehouse roof. The work needs the commission's approval because the structure lies within the Charlotte Amalie Historic District.
According to Williams, confirmed earlier this year as director of Fire Services, the fire stations fell into disrepair because the agency had not had the money to fix them.
Williams said that repairs to the Tutu fire station will begin as soon as a contract is let.
He said the Cruz Bay fire station, among other things, needs to have a retaining wall shored up and the front extended so the fire trucks will fit inside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.