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Dec 21, 2017

Nightmare before Christmas: Accidental fire on Flamboyant burns out ten

Ten persons including children have been left without a roof over their heads within days of the Christmas. A fire gutted half of a long barrack on Flamboyant Street sometime before nine o’clock on Wednesday night. The barracks housed four units where four families lived. The first two housing units of the barracks burnt out completely and the two families lost everything. Fire officials say that the fire was an accident. Andrea Polanco takes us out to the scene of the fire in the following report.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Two families are without a home tonight after a fire destroyed the roof over their head and everything else they owned. Around 8:40 on Wednesday night, a fire broke out inside the second unit of this four-unit long barracks on Flamboyant Street. The fire consumed the small living quarters quickly – and ignited the old wooden walls and the roof – and that is how Emmeth Baptist and his family lost just about everything. The taxi operator was at work when he found out there was a fire in the building where he lived.

 

Emmeth Baptist, FIRE VICTIM

Emmeth Baptist

“When I reach home I find the middle house engulfed in fire, whole ah the middle house. When I reach deh I see the community the try help fi tek out things outta my house and I try assist deh but by then the fire done tek the whole entire side cross ah my house. So, all we had to do was to run out.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What you managed to save?”

 

Emmeth Baptist

“I managed fi save on refridge and TV and a table. Everything else get destroyed. Everything else.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, the first and second unit burnt out completely?”

 

Emmeth Baptist

“The first and second unit burn out completely. The third and fourth unit get wah lotta wata damage and mainly by deh roof side get burn.”

 

The fire was spreading quickly when the two fire trucks arrived on the scene. The first two units of the building were engulfed in flames, so the firefighters jumped into action and contained the blaze. Assistant Fire Chief says that the fire is an accidental one – which a child reportedly started.

 

Bensiford Matura, Assistant Fire Chief

Bensiford Matura

“We discovered the second one totally engulfed and the fire was spreading into the first. We got into operation and we managed to save the second half. So, the third and fourth apartment did not ignite or the fire didn’t spread to that section. So, managed to get the fire under control and extinguish the one in the first and second apartment.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What can you tell us now about the cause of this fire that started in the second unit?”

 

Bensiford Matura

“From our investigators and some witnesses, this fire started in the bedroom of the second apartment. Apparently, a child was there playing with a match or a cigarette lighter and the mattress caught fire. The child ran out, yelled fire and that is when the neighbours realized what was going on, and they started to extinguish the fire.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you classify this as an accidental fire?”

Bensiford Matura

“Yes. It is an accidental fire.”

 

For twelve years, Baptist lived here with his wife and five children inside what was a two bedroom, living room and kitchen unit. Inside everything is charred and unusable. His home is uninhabitable – so he has to rebuild from scratch. He estimate his losses to be over fifteen thousand dollars.

 

Emmeth Baptist

“To be honest, I lost about fifteen to twenty-thousand right inna the house deh. I mi done buy me things deh and ready fi the Christmas. Today dah the day weh me and my gial mi wah put down everything and work up the house and get ready fi the Christmas but all ah that loss. Bad Christmas fi me.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Suh this hit yuh hard?”

 

Emmeth Baptist

“It really hit me hard. It hit me and the kids deh hard because all fi deh things, deh school supplies, everything loss.”

Andrea Polanco

“And like how dah something weh yuh neva expect, too?”

Emmeth Baptist

“I neva expect it. Like I tell you, I neva expect it. I gone home and tek wah bath and gone pahn the stand and inna ten minutes it happen. It happen so fast.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And it burn out very quickly because dah wooden and dah wah structure weh deh deh long time?”

 

Emmeth Baptist

“Yes. Dah wah structure weh deh deh long long time, so it burn fast, it burn fast. Thank God the breeze mi di blow dah way deh towards and nuh mi the blow the other side because dah more house mi wah burn right deh. Today I sit down and I di try put the pieces deh together but nothing di hold, nothing the hold; everything burn; so even if you nail pahn it the board deh wah split and so I di try separate out and try put back wah structure the best way I could.”

 

The adjacent unit to Baptist’s s also in need of major repairs. The fire gutted everything – clothing, appliances, furniture – and the walls and roofwere destroyed. Here, is where the fire started,  a family of three, including a child, lived inside. The other two units towards the end of the barracks received water damage when the firefighters were putting out the blaze.

 

Bensiford Matura

“The third apartment had minor damage to the roof. Actually, we had to pull some of the ceiling to make sure it didn’t spread because the fire was spreading through the roof. It is one roof that the foru apartment share and so we had to pull some of the beaverboard or what we call celotex to make sure it didn’t spread.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Did those two receive any water damage?”

 

Bensiford Matura

“Some water damage to the third one, yes, indeed. Just from fire-fighting they got very minor fire damage.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, you believe this quick action kinda saved the last two units?”

 

Bensiford Matura

“Yes. I must commend my guys. They did a good job in just controlling the fire to the two units that they found initially and it didn’t spread, knowing the proximity because it is a long barracks, so they are all adjacent to each other. So, yes, it was a quick and good fire-fight.”

 

Baptist says that although the fire destroyed his home– they are still thankful that there was no loss of life. And now he would really like the public’s assistance to rebuild.

 

Emmeth Baptist

“Nobody, thank God, none ah the kids deh get hurt. Nobody get hurt. I wah give thanks and praise fi that. We nuh loss wah life. We lost lotta material things but we nuh loss wah life so we have to give thanks and praise fi that. And if anybody wish fi help me, I wah appreciate everything unu help me with. Anything counts right now because I lose everything. More than likely I would ah want beg people fi board and cement fi mek I put up wah foundation because I need fi put my kids deh back because dah five ah deh and I cyaa go burden my ma.”

 

Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

 

As you heard in the story, Baptist is in need of urgent assistance. If wish to help, you can reach him at 633-3521.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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