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Davis: BPL fire report unsettling

The results from an investigation into the fires at Bahamas Power and Light’s (BPL) Clifton Pier Power Station in September 2018, were “unsettling, troubling and concerning,” Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday.

The report on the fire, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, concluded that the fire was a result of operator error; noting that either BPL’s attempt to troubleshoot an engine it had brought online, contrary to the manufacturer’s established protocol, or manipulation of a critical engine component during maintenance, caused the fire.

It also found that the engine component in question could not be found in the aftermath of the fire.

Speaking about the report, Davis said, “The red flag here is whether or not the scene was not compromised before the investigators went to make their enquiries and determination…”

Davis added, “Recognizing that the engines were turned on at a time that usually they are not to be turned on and noting in their report that it is unclear who gave the directives, is troubling.”

On the night of the fire, both engines were offline, according to a September 11, 2018, memo written by BPL Chief Financial Officer Chandrice Ferguson.

DA12 was out of service for lubrication oil contamination.

DA11 was out of service for about three months for repairs to its turbocharger by the manufacturer, MAN Energy Solutions.

Those repairs were completed by that Friday.

Shortly after noon that day, engineers at Clifton attempted to start DA11 but found that a solenoid needed to be repaired.

That repair was completed by 4:15 p.m.

At 10:21 p.m., DA11 was brought back online.

It is unclear who gave that directive.

There needs to be “consequences” as a result of the revelations in the report, according to PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper.

“The CEO, the board, must give an account to the Bahamian people,” he said.

Cooper also said, “We’ll look forward to further response from the government on this issue but certainly this issue needs to be resolved. It’s long passed now; the time has long passed that the government must fix this BPL problem.”

The report was prepared by Rimkus Consulting Group out of Florida.

It was completed on March 11, 2019.

The fire occurred on September 7, 2018, at Station C at the Clifton plant.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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