Residents desperate as fire destroys nine-bedroom house
A six-month-old baby and several other persons are now homeless after a man, who is believed to be of unsound mind, allegedly set ablaze their nine-bedroom house yesterday afternoon in Norman Gardens, Kingston.
One of the victims, Sabrina Lee, 23, said she has lost almost everything in the fire, which reportedly started at 3:30 p.m. Lee, a single mother with two children, cut a dejected figure on Thursday as she looked at the few items that she managed to save.
"A four years now since mi come here from Portland. Is a big man help me set up mi place cause I have to struggle to take care of my two daughters. I don't know what to do right now and I don't have anywhere to go either," said Lee, who works at a furniture store in downtown Kingston. The distraught mother said she was at work when she received the disturbing phone call about the fire.
"Mi affi rush go tell the boss say mi affi leave because me house a burn down. When mi come here it was a big, big fire, mi couldn't stand up near it to how the heat hot," she recalled.
Lee said she migrated to Kingston to find a better life but feels this latest setback will send her back to Portland.
"Dem could only save mi bed base, the two baskets a clothes and mi refrigerator but the door pop off when dem a rush wid it come out," she said. Another victim, 'Miss T', told THE WEEKEND STAR that she too was clueless of her next move as all of her belongings went up with the flames.
"Mi lose everything and I don't know where to turn or how to start over," bemoaned the tearful senior. Residents are angry as they claim the alleged perpetrator repeatedly warned them that he would commit the act.
"Mi see him lock him door and start cuss say a long time him fi bun dung di place. But him always a say that so nobody no tek him serious when him ride out and a talk. A when wi see the fire start blaze wi realise a weh gwaan," said the shell-shocked woman. According to other residents, the swift action from several men in the area prevented the fire from causing more damage, especially as it threatened to ignite the neighbouring Sagicor Industrial Business Complex.
"Di man dem start throw baay water pon the fire cause it a spread real fast. If yuh look pon dah ackee tree deh yuh will see how it bun up, and that tree was a green, green, ackee tree and in no time everything burn," another resident recalled.
Garth Mills, the commanding officer for the York Park Fire Unit in St Andrew, said it took firefighters five minutes to respond after they received the call.
"We are still investigating the matter but I can confirm that it was a nine-bedroom structure that housed nine adults and three children. We had two units from the York Park Fire Station and the Rollington Town Fire Station. The fire was massive. While we were heading towards the scene we could see the smoke from a good distance so we knew it could cause serious damage if not dealt with properly," he said.