St. Lucia Fire Service

Crash Fire Hall - Vigie Airport

vigie fire station

George Charles Fire Hall

Vigie Airport


George Charles Fire Hall also known as G.F.L Charles Airpot is a category five (5) airport strategically located in the islands capital. It is approximately six thousand two hundred (6200ft) in length and one hundred and fifty (150ft) feet in width. Due to it's category, G.F.L Charles has the capacity to accomodate an aircraft of maximum overall length of up to ninety (90ft) e.g ATR-72.

 




Historical Perspective

1973-1974

  • Establishment of Fire Hall or Aerodrome Site Location which was next to the Vigie Beach but the fire appliance was located inside the airport compound. The firefighting crew consisting of five (5) men would mount the unit to facilitate aircraft movements, landings or taking off.

1980

  • G.F.L Charles airport had been fortunate over the past few years in that it had not experienced any catastrophic incidents, however on November 30th 1980, the airport was the scene of a Guyana D.C 6B aircraftt whiched crashed on takeoff. Upon investigation it was discovered that the crash was as a result of mechanical failure.

1987

  • A company knon as The Caribbean Airport Project (CAP), based in Canada assisted some of the undeveloped islands of the Caribbean including St. Lucia in upgrading the Aerodrome site.
  • They constructed a fire station and donated a Skid Park Unit. From 1973 to 1987 the firemen used the fire applicances to travel from Fire Service Headquaters (Castries) to Vigie Airport on a daily basis until the fire station was constructed. During that period firemen used to work a one day in and one day out shift.

2002

  • The airport was named after George F.L. Charles, St. Lucia's first Chief Minister and a prominent member of the St. Lucia Labour Party.

Conclusion

  • In the (38) year history of the G.F.L. Charles Airport, from 1973 to 2012 the airport has served St. Lucia well. Due to the population density in the north of the island, the airport has witnessed much traffic and can be argued that it surpasses Hewanorra Airport in the south in terms of aircraft arrivals.

Sub Officer 140 Florius