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Mayor, ministers condemn arson attack on Olera Heights HDC complex

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Yvonne Webb

Top Stories Tamfitronics St. Fernando Major Robert Parris.  - File photo by Ayanna Kinsale
St. Fernando Major Robert Parris. – File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

ARSON is suspected in a fire which destroyed two 3500-gallon water tanks and other infrastructure at the Housing Development Company’s (HDC) Olera Heights apartment complex, San Fernando, on June 15.

San Fernando mayor Robert Parris told the Newsday information reaching him points to a deliberate attack which stemmed from water shortages during the harsh dry season, and which WASA is currently addressing.

He said he also believes, it was politically motivated, as persons were seen placing tires at the tank farm and setting them on fire.

All information have been passed on to the police who are continuing enquiries.

Both Parris and Rural Development and Local Government Minister, and Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi, in whose constituency the apartment complex is located, visited the scene on Saturday, along with police and fire officers to engage in a co-ordinated effort to restore calm and a water supply.

Trucks and backhoe from the City Corporation were used to help in the clean-up exercise around 2 pm, after the flames were extinguished.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has condemned the attack. An investigation is imminent and those found guilty will be prosecuted for destroying government property and charged with other criminal offence(s) governing similar attacks, she said.

The TT Housing Development Corporation (HDC), in a statement hours after the incident, confirmed what it termed, the alleged arson attack at its water tank farm facilities at Olera Heights.

HDC also confirmed the setting on fire of tyres which were placed close to the communitys tank farms, resulting in two 3500-gallon water tanks being destroyed.

Transmission and feeder lines that supply water from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to the tanks and apartments, were also slightly damaged and are currently being repaired.

HDC said the fire was contained and there were no casualties or fatalities.

Representatives from the San Fernando City Corporation assisted the HDC in isolating and removing the damaged tanks which are expected to be replaced by Sunday, June 16.”

HDC chairman Noel Garcia and Parris both described the incident as unfortunate, but were thankful no one was harmed.

HDCs managing director Jayselle McFarlane cautioned such acts can only negatively impact the limited water supply and create further water issues for all within the development.

While confirming that its tank farm is fully operational, HDC reminded residents they were still on a water schedule. It pointed to a May 13 WASA press release in which the authority noted the harsh, five-month dry season had shrunk water supply by 35 million gallons a day and that this would have affected many HDC communities.

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