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Arson suspected in fire near Dominica’s airport

The Douglas Charles Airport (photo from https://louisiana2dominica.wordpress.com)

Fire, suspected to be the work of arsonists, Wednesday evening destroyed a building housing critically important aviation communication equipment near Dominica’s Douglas- Charles International Airport, just hours after authorities explained why security has been tightened at the Caribbean island’s two airports.

Chief Executive Officer of the Dominican Air and Sea Ports Authority (DASPO), Benoit Bardouille said arson is suspected to be the cause of the blaze that destroyed $1 million Eastern Caribbean dollars worth of equipment.

“I can confirm that air traffic controllers reported a fault and upon investigations it was discovered that the building which housed major equipment’s was destroyed,” he said.

The building, which was located about two miles off the Douglas-Charles Airport , housed the Communications System Centre  where major air traffic control equipment is housed.

Bardouille assured that operations at the airport have not been affected because air traffic controllers switched on redundancy equipment.

CEO of the Dominica Air & Seaport Authority Benoit Bardouille says arson is suspected in a fire which destroyed a building housing major airport equipment about 2 miles off the Douglas-Charles airport.

“Fortunately we have a backup system and we are operating as normal but we have suffered a major loss,” he said.

The fire occurred less than one day after the Air and Sea Ports boss said access to the Douglas-Charles and Canefield Airports would be severely restricted to persons doing legitimate business there and that all vehicles entering would be subjected to security checks.

Heavily armed security personnel have been patrolling the airports after the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) had announced now aborted plans to face off with plane lpads of persons who were due to arrive to vote in general elections scheduled for December 8.

The UWP has repeatedly expressed concern about a bloated voters list that contains names slightly more than the island’s population.