Drama as warehouse burns

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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RESIDENTS of lower Lyndhurst Road and Brenton Avenue in St Andrew fought desperately yesterday to remove items from their homes as a fire that ripped through a warehouse on the nearby Ivy Road threatened their properties.

Some householders on Lyndhurst Road, in the vicinity of Calvary cemetery, meanwhile, doused their houses with water as a preemptive measure. Luckily, firefighters prevented the huge blaze from spreading.

The thick smoke made it look like midnight in that section of the capital city. Only the flashing red lights on a Jamaica Fire Brigade truck that was parked on Brenton Avenue was visible.

But that did not stop the residents, who appeared from the blanket of smoke like ghosts, from securing their belongings and ensuring that their neighbours were safe.

As the warehouse burned Collin Corcho emerged from the thick, black smoke with 83-year-old Gloria Whyte at his side.

Corcho, who had gone to ensure that an elderly church sister had drinking water in a community where the commodity is scare, told the Jamaica Observer that he had gone to retrieve the containers minutes after 10:00 am when the fire had already started, after which he left. By the time he returned to the area with the water the fire was burning out of control.

“One of the church ladies asked if I could get her (Whyte). When I went around there she was on the verandah crying, so me just tek her out. She couldn't see, and she was crying,” he said, adding that when he checked on another elderly woman, who is normally locked inside, she had already been taken out.

With two gas cylinders and a sewing machine at her left leg, resident Lavern Bailey stood with the assistance of a crutch as she stared at the huge fire.

Bailey told the Observer that the fire started approximately 8:00 am.

“…We thought it was somebody burning rubbish. It burn and burn and then we saw the whole heap a smoke a come over and fire in di tree dem and in the yard,” she said.Another resident, Vanesta Hinds, who was seen sitting at the intersection of Brenton Avenue and Lyndhurst Road, told the Observer that she was lying in her bed when she saw the smoke. Hinds said when the smoke became thick she evacuated her home.

Twenty-five-year-old Sasha Frankson said when she realised that the warehouse was engulfed in fire she began using the water she had stored for drinking purposes to wet the roof of her house in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading.

Senior Deputy Superintendent Patrick Gooden, officer in charge of operations for the Kingston and St Andrew Division at the Jamaica Fire Brigade, told the Observer that it took 32 firefighters to contain the blaze. He said the brigade was summoned to the premises at 11:24 am.

When the firefighters arrived, Gooden said the building was already engulfed.

It was not clear, however, why residents had not called the brigade earlier.

Admitting that the brigade received assistance from private water companies, Gooden said five units responded to the blaze.

The estimated cost of the damage was not ascertained and the cause of the blaze was undetermined.


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