Civil Protection Department fire engines were hired by the contractor engaged to demolish the Fortina Hotel in Sliema to control the debris and dust during works, the Times of Malta is informed.

“Normally, contractors use special apparatus, known as water mist cannon, to control the dust emanating from debris when doing such work,” building industry sources said.

However, Tal-Magħtab Construction Company, entrusted with the demolition job, did not seem to have such equipment available, so the CPD was approached, they added.

A CPD spokesman confirmed that fire engines had been used on the Fortina site. When asked if it was normal for fire engines to be used for such purposes, he insisted there were several occasions when the department rented out its services such as during village feasts and pyrotechnics festivals.

However, architects who spoke to this newspaper were surprised that fire engines were used for such an operation.

WATCH: Debris pours down Fortina demolition site, choking Sliema in dust

“Fire engines are not adequate for such work because they can only disperse water in large quantities,” one architect experienced in demolition works said.

“To be effective, you need water mist cannon, which throws liquid particles in the air to mix with the debris. There are many contractors who own such equipment,” he added.

The demolition of the Fortina Hotel hit the headlines last January when debris was filmed being dumped from eight storeys high as dust chocked the area of the Tigné peninsula.

When contacted, the Planning Authority said its representatives had seen no debris being released in the air.

Tal-Magħtab Construction won various government contracts over the past years and was also engaged in the building of the new power station. Way back, it had built Labour’s headquarters in Ħamrun.

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