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Dec 5, 2023

House Gutted By Fire; Elderly Man Found Dead Inside

The family of eighty-two-year-old William Watts is having a hard time tonight, processing two tragedies. The upper flat of his house burned down early this morning and he was found dead inside. Fire officials were called before four this morning to the location at corner Zericote and Banak streets and managed to prevent the fire from spreading to other properties. They are awaiting the results of the post mortem to determine whether Watts had died before the fire actually started from a television set that was left on for an extended period of time. A resident of Banak Street told News Five that the last time she saw her elderly neighbour was two days ago. She expressed a great sense of loss for the courteous neighbour who came religiously to put out their garbage twice a week. Here’s the story.


Marion Ali, Reporting

When we arrived at number thirty corner Banak and Zericote Streets this morning, the upper flat of the two-storey house in which eighty-two-year-old William Watts had passed away was locked shut. All that was evident was the scorched front portion of the residence where the fire started. Watt’s neighbour told us off-camera that he was a kind soul who helped them to put out their garbage twice a week.


Voice of: Sharon Tillett

Voice of: Sharon Tillett, Neighbour

“He used to take out my garbage. I used to give him lunch, breakfast, we quarrel, we, we’re friends again. The other day he got sick, I gave a hammer for them to get in. I was really shocked this morning. I mean, we heard noises, you know, we heard little popping and stuff, and my husband got up and when we realized the house was on fire, so we called the fire truck. The police was the first person on the scene. And I don’t know who the police officer is, but he really, really tried to get in, and I could see on his face it was devastation because he couldn’t get in, yeah, he really stamped that door and he couldn’t get in.”


But whether or not the elderly occupant died as a result of the fire or before the fire is not yet clear. A post mortem examination will determine that. Fire Station Supervisor, Kenneth Mortis told reporters this afternoon that the fire started from an old television set that was left on and Watts was found on his back a distance away.


Kenneth Mortis

Kenneth Mortis, Station Supervisor

“The fire is concluded to have been as a result of an electrical flaw, whereby the television set that was used as a means of entertainment had overheated and created the fire. A body was found in the building. We furthered investigation and that was when we determined or we learned that the body was that of eighty-two-year-old senior citizen Mr. William Watts. We found Mr. Watson in the living room area near the sofa on his back.”


Mortis said the house was insured and that the lower flat, which was unoccupied, suffered water and heat damage. He lamented on the reality that elderly folks face when they live alone. He advises again the importance of acquiring two small home appliances:


Kenneth Mortis

“The use of a readily and serviceable smoke alarm, regardless of, um, the type of structure you’re living in, a smoke alarm works wonders if it works properly is the early detection to a fire, hence the reason it’s a smoke alarm. It gives off that loud beeping sound. A smoke alarm costs roughly 25 bucks. Marry that to a fire extinguisher, you have a pair of tools that will work, does work, and it has shown to work.”


Sharon Tillett recalls the last time she saw Watts two days ago.


Voice of: Sharon Tillett

“The last time I saw him, he just gave me a smile. Uh, he was walking upstairs day before yesterday. Yeah, because normally he would garbage day, he would come out, make sure everybody garbage is out. He was vibrant. He could go up those stairs faster than I can go up my own stairs, you know? So he was very active. He’s constantly there every morning. The window would be open and you know, he’s up, you know, so that would be definitely missed.”


Marion Ali for News Five.

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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