Businesswoman Must Start Over After Late Night Inferno on West Collet Canal
Destruction by fire in the city was not only limited to the Chateau Caribbean. Just under seven hours before, Police also reported a house fire at a residence on West Collet Canal where the upper flat of a two storey wooden building was destroyed. The homeowner insists she left nothing open that would have caused a fire, and fire investigators continue to try to determine a cause. News Five’s Aaron Humes reports on what happened at Alma Chuc’s residence overnight on Saturday and how you can help her recover.
Aaron Humes, Reporting
West Collet Canal Street resident Alma Chuc was having a night out with friends not far from her residence at number forty-seven West Collet Canal on Saturday. But the party was over when she got terrible news.
Alma Chuc, Businesswoman/Fire Victim
“I was not far, right across from the Queen Square Market, so if you come outside, you can see my house from where I was; and one of my friends came and she told me that, “Miss Alma, your house is on fire;” and we went there, and I saw the whole house engulfed in flames, and I passed out and I ended up in hospital. But everything is completely destroyed; everything I owned and worked for all my life, was completely, completely destroyed. There was nothing we were able to save.”
Fire personnel responded, but at first glance there is nothing yet to indicate what may have caused the fire.
Ted Smith, Fire Chief
“At zero-one-forty-six hours, the Department also received and responded to a fire at forty-seven West Collet Canal…on arrival, a two-story structure with wooden upper and concrete lower was – heavy smoke was seen coming from the structure; the fire was primarily internal, inside, and not necessarily escaped outside yet, but the fire was already developed inside. The team was able to make entry into that structure and contain the fire and extinguish the fire.”
“What was the cause of the fire?”
“Both of those fires are not yet investigated; the investigation is ongoing. If you notice, that fire occurred at zero-one-forty-six, and by eight-twenty-four the following morning, we had that large fire that occupied all of us out at Chateau. So the investigation is now in full swing, to establish origin and cause of both fires.”
“Yes, the house had electricity, but there was nothing turned on, beside the [refrigerator] and that is in the kitchen; but the fire started at the back of the house. So presently, the Fire Department is doing their investigation and they will get back to me.”
“Was anybody else at home? Did you leave anybody else at home at the time?”
“No. My kids were at my mom’s, so nobody was at home at the time of the fire, thank God; no one was there.”
“But you lost everything. Is there any reason to believe anyone would deliberately do something like this to you?”
“No; I wouldn’t say that, I wouldn’t say that at all. I would have to wait and see what the Fire Department says, and then we will know what really happened at the time.”
The loss counts double for Chuc, on a personal and professional basis. The mother of three was able to get her youngest son to Holy Redeemer Primary School today with timely assistance from neighbors and friends. But the businesses she operates across the city, which employs six persons, are closed for the time being.
“What is really bugging me out is because I have a few businesses and all of my business equipment is destroyed. I do catering; actually I have business downstairs of my house, because my father owns the house; I have a business downstairs of the house and I have my kitchen upstairs where I do all of my baking and so. I have a shop in Downtown Plaza; I have a mobile shop; and I do business by Saint Ignatius School; but presently all of my six employees are out of a job because I don’t have anything for them to do; and I don’t have anything to start back the business; everything is completely destroyed and the bad part about it nothing was insured.”
The investigation into the cause of the fire continues. Aaron Humes Reporting for News Five.
Those wishing to assist Alma Chuc may call her at 663-6195 or visit her mother’s residence at number twenty-eight F Iguana Street.