Tue | Apr 23, 2019

Massive fire shuts down Rose Hall main road - IGL truck bursts into flames, driver seriously injured

Published:Saturday | January 19, 2019 | 12:58 AMAdrian Frater and Hopeton Bucknor
Firefighters in the final stages of putting out the fire from an IGL truck that burst into flames along the Rose Hall main road in St James, resulting in a huge traffic pile-up on the busy thoroughfare. It took several hours to put out the blaze. The driver was seriously injured and admitted to hospital.

WESTERN BUREAU:

It was like a major fireworks display along the Rose Hall main road in St. James yesterday morning, as flames lit up the skies from an IGL truck, which developed mechanical problems and burst into flames, resulting in a huge traffic pile-up on the busy thoroughfare.

The incident, which occurred shortly after 7:00 a.m. and remained a major spectacle for close to three hours, had firefighters battling the ominous flames for quite a while.

The driver of the truck, who was seriously injured in the incident, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted.

“IGL wishes to advise that following the incident involving a company’s delivery bulk truck, which caught fire in the Rose Hall area of St. James this morning (yesterday), we have engaged and remain in dialogue with all concerned parties and the relevant agencies,” IGL said in a statement in the aftermath of the incident.

“We regret that the driver was injured, but can advise that he is receiving medical attention, with IGL monitoring his recovery process. Further updates will become available, as details are received from the authorities now carrying out their investigations.”

MECHANICAL PROBLEMS

Burchell Christie, who witnessed the incident as it unfolded, said he first saw the driver standing in front of the cab of the truck speaking to someone. He appeared to be getting instructions as to how to fix a mechanical problem on the truck, which had come to a halt along the roadway, the witness noted.

“While he was doing the repairs, I saw flames coming from under the bottom of the truck,” said Christie. “Suddenly I saw a big ball of fire come out of the engine and the driver, who was completely engulfed, started running. I know he suffered injuries but I don’t know to what extent.”

As the flames climbed several feet in the air, traffic came to a halt, as firefighters and the police tried to bring order, with curious motorists and pedestrians growing in numbers.

Motorists had to be divert, using the Salt Marsh/Goodwill/Adelphi route to get to Montego Bay.

The administration at the Max Children Centre, which is located in proximity to the incident, suspended classes for the day.

“Fortunately for us, we did not have many students at the school when the incident occurred so we were able to send out an advisory to parents not to take their children to school,” said Carla Lake, the school’s principal. “We had fumes coming into the school, so we evacuated the small number of students we had and the staff, some of whom were experiencing respiratory challenges.”