‘Close to $2M used to address fire at typhoon debris area on Tinian’


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Monday that he issued another 30-day state of significant emergency on Tinian arising from a grass fire that occurred on the island last June 19 that had spread to a site where typhoon debris that contained toxic chemicals and other e-waste materials had been stored.

In an interview, Torres said close to $2 million was allotted for the contract to collect the leftover debris or any toxic materials that were left in the area.


The governor said he is not familiar as to the exact funding source. “But I’m sure the funding is there and that we need to take care of any toxic materials that are left there,” he said.

Torres said the incident affected not just Tinian residents, but also visitors.

“We are on top of that,” the governor said.

In a separate interview Monday, Tinian Mayor Edwin P. Aldan said they are currently waiting for soil samples that will determine if the water table is contaminated.


“As of now, we have a company down there who’s making the cleanup. There was some equipment that were brought in,” Aldan said.

He said soil samples were sent to the states for verification of the level of any contamination.

“We are already starting to remove some of the debris. We are already packing it and compressing to ship it out,” the mayor said.

He said the fire broke out in an isolated area and that the only concern they had was the underlying water table and of the smoke that was emitted.

Aldan said they are trying to figure our a way to help the people that were relocated from their place.

Last June 23, due to the fire, then-acting Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider declared a major disaster warning to collect and discard the debris left by Super Typhoon Yutu in the area. A contractor was subsequently awarded the contract to collect the leftover debris, conduct tests on the soil, make sure no chemicals are left behind, and prevent contamination of the island’s water table.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com
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