- 1 of 2
AS FAR south as Adelup, residents were taken aback upon seeing a huge cloud of smoke from a fire in Dededo yesterday afternoon.
The blaze occurred at the Global Recycling Center, an area full of appliances, old vehicles and tires.
Guam Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ed Artero said the fire was reported at around 12:52 p.m. Because of the size of the fire, local and federal fire fighters joined forces. Three fire trucks and a 3,000-gallon tanker from Andersen Air Force Base also responded to the scene.
Employees of Global Recycling removed bundled-up tires away from the fire with the use of tractors to prevent the fire from spreading onto the road.
Artero said there were some problems with acquiring a water source despite GFD officials being told that a fire hydrant was right across the street from the site.
The Variety made an attempt to talk to the owner of the establishment as he drove out of the compound, but he declined to be interviewed.
Officials from Guam Environment Protection Agency’s Air Pollution Program arrived later and immediately began monitoring air quality.
At around 6 p.m. yesterday, the fire was contained, but it was still being monitored by GFD and GEPA.
“We are actively looking into what caused the fire and until more information is obtained, we do not want to speculate as to the cause,” GEPA acting Administrator Walter Leon Guerrero said. “More information will be available after a diligent review of the situation.”
Meanwhile, residents who live near areas affected by smoke from the fire are encouraged to stay indoors until they are notified otherwise, especially people with heart or respiratory ailments. Residents are also asked to reduce outdoor activities and set air-conditioning units in re-circulating mode to reduce outdoor air replacement.
The cause of the fire could be difficult to determine because white goods and some tires had burst into flame early Monday afternoon.
“It’s hard to tell. In a place like this, a fire can start on its own,” environmental health specialist Betwin Alokoa said, adding that pieces of metal can reflect the sunlight onto a flammable material, causing the material to ignite.
At the time Alokoa was observing, the Guam Fire Department and the AAFB fire department were keeping the fire contained in a 100 x 100-square foot area.
Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares was also at the site to share her concerns that the students of nearby Maria Ulloa Elementary School may be affected by the billows of black smoke rising from the fire.
An employee of Global Recycling Center stated that to his knowledge, in the year that he had been working there, this is the first fire that the facility ever had.
Although GFD had responded to the emergency call, due to a lack of water supply, AAFB also came out to support the efforts.
Firefighters were also forced to search in a heavy jungle area for a fire hydrant.
(With a report from Joy White)
View more photos in our gallery.