The Gros Islet fire station is closed tonight – the second such closure in recent weeks, well-informed sources have disclosed.
According to information obtained by the Times, the most recent closure is the result of a number of cases of members of staff reporting ill.
An official disclosed that as a result of the reports of illness, fire officers from the Gros Islet fire station had to be moved to the George F.L Charles airport.
It is reported that just a handful of staff are currently at fire service headquarters in Castries.
The official, who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity, expressed concern about the situation, noting that it is occurring during the long holiday weekend when a number of activities, including Assou Square, have been planned.
It is estimated that currently, the Saint Lucia Fire Service (SLFS) has a numerical strength of below 260 with the number fluctuating due to factors such as illnesses and vacation leave.
Sources indicate that to function effectively, the Fire Service needs about 320 members of staff.
In December 2016, the Saint Lucia Fire Service Association described the manpower shortage in the Saint Lucia Fire Service as being ‘dangerously serious.’