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Jan 8, 2018

Fire Leaves 7 Out of House and Home

Seven persons in the City are without a home tonight in the wake of a fire. Shortly before eight-thirty on Friday night, a blaze tore through the wooden home in Taylor’s Alley and destroyed everything inside the two-storey house. No one was injured, but two pets perished during the blaze. Firefighters managed to contain the fire before it spread to neighboring houses and today confirmed that the fire was caused by an unattended candle in one of the rooms. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Sixty-five-year-old Percival Blancaneaux is without a home today. The retired senior citizen says he is living in an abandoned building after his home burnt down. Around eight-thirty on Friday night, fire destroyed Blancaneaux’s home here in Taylor’s Alley – leaving him with only the clothes on his back. The old wooden structure, where six others lived, was made of pine lumber and it burnt quickly –Blancaneaux narrowly escaped the blaze.

 

Percival Blancaneaux

Percival Blancaneaux, Home Destroyed by Home

“I had to jump through the window because the house was old. The house was sixty-five-years old. So the wood real old and so the fire get started like that.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And suh ih bun very quickly?”

 

Percival Blancaneaux

“Quick! So, when the truck got yah it was already under fire.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And yuh neva manage fi save not one thing?”

 

Percival Blancaneaux

“Not one thing. I had to jump through the window from the side in the back. I couldn’t come out, so I had to come this way and jump through the window.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So you narrowly escaped with your life as well?”

 

Percival Blancaneaux

“Yes. Yes. Narrowly because of the smoke I couldn’t find the door to get out. I couldn’t find the window and I had to feel my way and that is how I got out.”

 

The forty-two by thirty-seven two-storey structure once sat here – the house lot is now empty and cleared of the rubble after the fire. Charred pieces of lumber and pieces of burnt personal belongings are what’s left outside the gate of the property. Blancaneaux owned the building, which had small apartment style rooms in the upper and lower flats. Blancaneaux and three other persons lived in the upstairs while three others lived downstairs. Fifty-six-year-old Russell Anthony and sixty-three-year-old Russell Tasher both lived at this property – they were not home at the time of the fire – they lost their pets and all their belongings.

 

Russell Anthony, Fire Victim

“Everybody mi deh yah and I mi just tek wah lee walk round the corner when I hear fire and I rush come save mi animal deh but when I come the fire mi already got the house down flat.”

 

Russell Anthony

Andrea Polanco

“Suh you mi live downstairs and you lose everything as well?”

 

Russell Anthony

“Lose everything as well.  Well, weh I mi have in deh; I mi have mi bed, mi bike, mi clothes deh and because due to the house neva have no electricity, I neva have no fridge or nothing else; not even wah have I mi have.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Fi dis happen to you, ih rough?”

 

Russell Anthony

“Ih rough. Ih rough bad.”

 

Russell Tasher

Russell Tasher, Fire Victim

“Way down there somebody pointed and said fire up there. I was looking but I couldn’t see smoke but I could smell it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Yuh neva know dah yuh house?”

 

Russell Tasher

“No. I didn’t know at all. I left from the place and closer I got here I started thinking it could be in this area and I thought it better not be because this house is old. It is made out of pine, mostly pine and it is gonna go up real quick. Sure enough when I got here I didn’t even see the house no more. I couldn’t even see the top of the house.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, I would imagine everything from you got destroyed, as well?”

 

Russell Tasher

“Everything plus my dog got burnt up in the fire. He died in the fire.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, a dog and quash died?”

 

Russell Tasher

“Yes. A dog and a quash died in the fire; got burnt up.”

 

By the time the fire department responded to the blaze on Friday night, a part of the structure had already collapsed and flames had engulfed the entire building. Assistant Fire Chief Benisford Matura says that an unattended candle caused the fire and the blaze has been ruled as accidental.

 

Benisford Matura, Assistant Fire Chief, National Fire Service

“We got into operation and did a defensive fire-fighting and because of the proximity of the other houses we didn’t want it to due to exposures we didn’t want the other houses to catch, so we did defensive fire-fighting and we put the fire under control and stopped the spread of the fire.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And the structure was completely destroyed?”

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura

“Yes. Completely destroyed. The structure was an old pine building, so upon arrival it had already collapsed.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, they lost everything, as well?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Yes. They lost everything.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So, what can you tell us about the cause of this fire?”

 

Benisford Matura

“Our investigation reveals that this fire was started by the use of candles. What happen, they didn’t have any electricity in the building and the occupants used candles and unfortunately somebody didn’t use the candle properly and it caught the south western section of the building on fire and fire just engulfed the whole structure.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

 

The fire victims are asking for the public’s assistance to rebuild. They say they are most in need of clothing, toiletries and bedding. If you would like to assist, you can call 632-9073.

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