2012-05-10 / Editorial

Bunker at Fort Getty poses public threat

Kudos to the firefighters for the dramatic rescue on Monday of a dog that had fallen into a pit that was inside a World War II-era bunker at Fort Getty (see page 23). It was a job well done by the volunteers. However, one must question why such a hazard was accessible in the first place.

Jamestown is home to a number of Narragansett Bay defenses from World War II and earlier. Gun emplacements, fire-control stations, airplane-spotter stations and ordnance-storage bunkers are just a few examples of the old decaying structures that can be found at Fort Getty, Fort Wetherill State Park and at Beavertail State Park.

While these historic sites are interesting to look at from a distance, they do pose a real threat to the public. Dogs chase critters into the bunkers, and – as was the case on Monday – become trapped. What if that had been a child that had fallen into the bunker pit while playing at the site? One shudders at the thought.

Maybe we have assumed that the town and the state Department of Natural Resources had rendered all the bunkers safe by sealing the pits and tunnels. Monday’s rescue showed that is not the case.

The town should take immediate steps to seal all of the bunkers at the town-owned Fort Getty. The town should also request that the DEM do the same at the two parks that it maintains – Fort Wetherill and Beavertail.

These dangers should be eliminated immediately.

— Jeff McDonough

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