News

8 homeless after Allman Town fire

Thwaites helping Allman Town fire victims

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT Observer writer

Sunday, June 08, 2014    

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NINE people, inclusive of three children, are without a home after fire gutted their houses at 18 Wild Street in Allman Town, Kingston, yesterday.

Sachelle Henry, one of the victims, who is 19 years old and has lived at Wildman Street all her life, said all her possessions have been lost. The tragedy, she said, occurred mere minutes after she had undressed her two children to bathe them.

"Mi tek off the baby dem clothes fi bathe dem and turn mi back and go rub some cream inna mi hair. By time mi come back inna di room a bere smoke mi see. The only thing mi did affi do ah grab up di baby dem and run out. Mi lose mi birth paper, uniform and everything," Henry said in a state of sadness.

Another victim, Andrea Coley, a nail technician, had difficulty holding up and said she didn't know how to pick up the pieces.

"All of my furniture and belongings burn up, and I can't go in the house," she said while fighting to hold back tears.

In total six homes, all on one property, were affected.

Some of the residents charged that the York Park Fire Station, which is closest to their homes, was delinquent in responding, and they had to await a response from the Rollington Town Fire Station to bring the blaze under control.

However, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Gooden from the York Park Fire Station said units were available, but the topography of the area would have created a problem.

"The narrowness of the roadway would have prevented the units from reaching the fire, so the next best available place was Rollington Town, which is also responsible for this area," Gooden said.

One man, who wanted to be referred to only as Dave, said his brother, Anthony Bartholomew -- one of the victims -- appeared dazed when he spoke to him, as he had antique possessions that were lost.

"My brother is a man weh keep radio from long time weh you no see again, and records, enuh. If I wanted anything like pictures from long time a him mi woulda go to for it. Some of the stuff lost are priceless," he said.

He said if the response of the firefighters was quicker items could have probably been saved.

Member of parliament for the area Ronald Thwaites, who was at the scene of the fire, said he was thankful that there were no casualties, adding that he would be contacting necessary institutions to get help for the victims.

"Right now, I'm looking to get some food and clothes for the victims. But for now they will probably have to stay with a neighbour or relative." Thwaites said.

"I will be contacting the necessary relief agencies to come on board and assist. I'm looking to get the army to come and assist with the cleaning-up process and Food For the Poor with the rebuilding process. However, where that is concerned, a lot depends on the ownership of the property," Thwaites added.

Fire department District Officer Andrew Stevens said the damage to the property was estimated at $3 million. He added that the building was not insured and the cause of the fire, for the moment, is unknown and would be determined through thorough investigation.

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