Trinidad and Tobago — A bush fire, which began just behind the National Petroleum (NP) compound in Sea Lots yesterday, was responsible for shutting down its operations for close to two hours, while hundreds of employees were evacuated. The blaze was observed sometime between 11.45 am and midday, when workers observed smoke coming from a parcel of land south of the compound.
As alarms were triggered, workers from the plant, as well as the administrative and clerical staff, rushed to emergency exits and headed to two muster points at the main entrance and near the fly-over. Some workers opted to cross the busy Beetham Highway and sought shelter under the fly-over. As employees heeded the warning to evacuate the compound, truck drivers also were ordered to relocate their vehicles away from the site.
Tanker drivers arriving at NP were forced to park on the shoulder and await instructions from security officers. Motorists heading west confirmed a plume of white smoke was seen coming from the back of NP, which led many to believe a fire had broken out on the compound. In a statement late yesterday, NP’s corporate communications officer Rae Gilbert confirmed the fire had started on land adjacent to the NP and Natpet facilities and that emergency responses had been activated.
She said a full evacuation of the compound had been undertaken as a precautionary measure but no damage had been done to either facility. Gilbert said yesterday’s occurrence had not disrupted the supply of fuel to the service station network.