Sunday’s near-catastrophic fire at the airport tarmac caused no flight delays

The aftermath of the fire at the Rubis pumping station at the V.C. Bird International Airport
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By Carl Joseph

“It didn’t delay not even one aircraft,” said Rubis Aviation Superintendent, Hubert Joseph, of Sunday’s afternoon fire at one of its pumping stations at the Sir V.C. Bird International Airport.

At 1:24 p.m. on Sunday, firemen of the Airport Fire Brigade responded in quick order to a call that one of Rubis’ pumps had caught fire.

The jet-fuel provider’s number two pump is located near the tarmac at the V.C. Bird International Airport.

 Fire Brigade Chief, Elvis Weaver, reported that eight firemen rushed to the scene and “met the number two pump on fire.”

“By their quick action,” Weaver continued, “they were able to put it out and avert a catastrophe.

The firemen took approximately 10 minutes, using foam to extinguish the blaze before it could spread to the main jet-fuel storage tanks.

“That pump,” the aviation superintendent explained, “was pumping fuel to the ramp through the hydrant.”

He added that, “we also had re-fuel trucks that we used during the time we were down [due to the fire]. And we were back up in about two hours because we had other pumps that we could use. We only had to isolate that particular pump and then continue our service.”

The fire left some damage to a filter vessel of the pump and also slight damage to the number three pump which sits immediately beside it.

The fire chief explained on the day of the fire that it was caused by a “possible leakage [at the pump].”

Superintendent Joseph confirmed Weaver’s initial observations: “the bearing in the pump probably went [bad], and as it was pumping fuel it got heated, and that caused the fire at the pump. And there’s always fumes around, and that could have been the real cause of it.”

The fire chief asserted that Sunday’s fire was through no fault or negligence on the part of Rubis. Joseph further said that the Rubis airport staff has, “consistent training with the fire department… we have monthly fire drills.”

Rubis will still conduct checks into the other pumps at the airport, “to make sure that they’re in good order, so that that incident doesn’t happen again.”

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