‘Only mi breath a blow’ - Peanut vendor loses everything in fire

May 30, 2017
Osbourne Ellis at his burnt-out home Elletson Flats in St Andrew.
Osbourne Ellis at his burnt-out home Elletson Flats in St Andrew.

For the past two weeks, Osbourne ‘Peanut Dread’ Ellis had been sleeping under a few sheets of zinc just metres from the ruins of his Food for the Poor house that went up in flames.

The 51-year-old Ellis, who lives in Golden Avenue, Kingston 7, told THE STAR that he got the three-room board house some 12 years ago, but it was destroyed in a matter of minutes on May 13 at around 9:30 a.m.

“I was in the yard taking up some sand, and me hear like something burst down a di house. When me look, me see black smoke coming out of the house top, and when me run down there, a inna me daughter room me see full a fire,” Ellis said.

“Mi dash two bucket a water on the fire, but it spread. Me remember bout me $20,000, and me run inside to see if me can get the money, but the fire burn me on me two hand, so me have to run out back. Then me start cry out. By then, the whole yard full a fire,” he said, noting that his 20-year-old daughter was at work at the time of the fire.


Since the incident, the peanut vendor said he has been left frustrated as he lost all his possessions in the blaze. Further compounding the situation, he is unable to carry out his trade, which he has been doing since he was 11 years old, as his tools were also engulfed.

He said he used to roast peanuts at home, and ride his bike to Papine, Hope Road, Eastwood Park Road, and Half-Way Tree to sell his goods.

Ellis added that he has a passion for music, and although he did not take it on professionally, he spent a lot of time and money amassing equipment for a home studio.

He said he lost a keyboard, amps, drums, a guitar and speakers, as well as his furniture and appliances and a bike.

Ellis explained that his daughter had to seek shelter with her family in another parish, but he remains on the charred premises, and gets by with the assistance of a friend who gives him food occasionally.

“Only mi breath a blow. Right now, water a come outta me eye because me just laas everything. Me stranded. Me need a roof back over me head,” Ellis pleaded.

Those wishing to assist Ellis may contact him at 898-3193

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