Overheating Compressor Triggered Explosions at Gas Refueling Plant

Experts at the Jamaica Fire Brigade have determined the cause of Sunday's fire at 3 Jacques Avenue, injuring five persons, including 48-year-old Everett Austin, who succumbed to his injuries.

{xtypo_dropcap}A{/xtypo_dropcap}ssistant Superintendent Courtney Thompson of the York Park Fire Station has confirmed that investigations show that the compressor malfunctioned and ignited as a result of overuse, triggering the explosion of cooking gas cylinders containing propane.

"It was the compressor that actually started the fire to make it explode," he said, pointing out that the motor "ran hot" after being used to carry out the operation, which would have necessitated the use of bigger-size wiring to effectively carry the electricity load from the 220 voltage required.

Emelio Ebanks, public relations officer at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, explained that all public buildings that are intended or occupied for business must be certified by the brigade, as required by law, following a thorough inspection.

He said the premises where the fire and subsequent explosions occurred were never on its list of certified properties.

"We didn't even know about this business. This was a commercial operation that was taking place in a residential community, and residents have been so tight-lipped after the fire. I doubt if any of the regulatory authorities knew about it," he said.

Meanwhile, Rohan Ambersley, chief executive officer of Gas Pro, said all three local marketing companies of LPG - the others being Petcom and Industrial Gases Limited (IGL) - are to meet to discuss how to stamp out the illegal trade.

However, they are awaiting a full report on Sunday's fire, which resulted in third-degree burns to all the victims. For this reason, he said a date for this meeting is yet to be decided.