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Press Release - Virgin Islands fire chief visits Devon & Somerset
Posted on 24/05/2019

The Chief Fire Officer of the British Virgin Islands has visited Devon & Somerset to thank the Service for the support given to his country following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Zebalon McLean, on a tour of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service’s headquarters in Exeter today, said that following the hurricane, firefighters were going to incidents in shorts and t-shirts because all their kit was lost.

He said: “We suffered 95% infrastructural damage, we lots kits, trucks, we lost all the things we needed. When the donations from Devon and Somerset arrived it was like Christmas.”

When Hurricane Irma made landfall in September 2017, it caused massive damage to the island’s infrastructure and all six fire and rescue service fire stations were damaged. The roof was blown off the Fire Headquarters by the 200mph-plus winds and most of the firefighting equipment was destroyed.

The homes and possessions of firefighters were destroyed or lost, with their families living in fire service premises when they are on duty.

Staff from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and Devon & Cornwall Police with the help of charity SAFE South West collected enough donations to fill a 40-foot container with much-need equipment.

The container includes nearly three pallets of toys, mass decontamination structures, light portable pumps and other firefighting equipment and clothing.

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