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Jan 20, 2003

Fire caused by candle leaves families homeless

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The fact that it’s a familiar story does not make it any less tragic. You know the ingredients: a wooden house, a lit candle and a parent not at home. This time the damage was only to property…and for that I suppose we should be thankful. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has the story.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

The fire broke out just after 7:00 on Sunday night at the home of Georgia Forbes and quickly spread to three other small wooden houses situated on the same property. Residents say that despite their best efforts, there was nothing they could do to stop the flames.

Georgia Forbes, Fire Victim

“From in my house the fire start, the chair was already on fire. I grabbed two gallons of water to try and out it, but it couldn’t out and a mug. So afterwards we start to holler. So afterwards we start to holler fi a lady ova deh and some bwai mi deh by the lane, and they come, but we couldn’t out the fire. They said they would haul out the chair, but the door was too small, so the chair couldn’t even come out. Next thing you know, the firs get big and out of control and we couldn’t do nothing about it.”

This morning we found Aaron White sitting in front of what was once his house. White, who lives to the back of the compound, says he first tried to help his neighbours and then ran back to his house to see what he could secure… but it was too late.

Aaron White, Fire victim

“Nothing. Cause when I run inna my house fire mi done bust through the back window and gone round by the gas tank, so when I see that my gas tank start spit gas, I run out back and I left that. So I couldn’t save nothing because ah the rush weh the fire come with.”

The fire trucks arrived shortly after receiving the call, but the area was terribly congested and prevented the fire fighters from gaining immediate access to the blaze. According to Assistant Fire Chief, Ted Smith, the fire was well underway by the time they arrived and they would not have been able to save the buildings in any case.

Ted Smith, Assistant Fire Chief

“We had some difficulties. The street is narrow and most people on the street owned vehicles and as a result they parked these vehicles on the street, so the truck had to stay out there way by Victoria Street and run it’s hose from there. So it took some time to arrive in the area and start dealing with it.”

The fire affected five families and left twelve persons homeless.

Georgia Forbes, Fire Victim

“Right now I have no clothes, nothing fi eat. Only the slippers on my foot, the children deh somewhere the sleep. I noh sleep from last night because I couldn’t sleep. I would really want some help from the government and everybody because I need a home because I noh have none and I have three children, so I really need some help.”

Aaron White

“All my things burnt up, chair, sofa, stereo, everything. I noh left with nothing, not even a suit of clothes.”

Assistant Fire Chief Ted Smith this evening told News 5 that the fire was started with Forbes’ ten-year-old daughter used a candle to search for her tennis shoes. While looking under a chair, the flame ignited the seat above. Forbes left the children alone while she visited a friend nearby. Her house did not have electrical service. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

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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