Residents distraught after fire destroys homes, valuables
Senior citizen Veronica Barnes is now without a home and is pondering her next move after her one-bedroom board dwelling was ravished in a bizarre fire yesterday afternoon along Chestnut Lane in west Kingston.
"Mi no have nowhere else to go. A from mi a 17 years old mi deh here and mi a 66 now. Everything weh mi have gone. Mi lose bed, chest of drawer, appliances and all mi documents. Right now, mi head a hurt mi, mi cyah talk no more," a distraught Barnes told THE STAR. She recalled her emotions when she got the bad news.
"I wasn't here. I was at work when I get the call that the place deh pon fire. In all a mi life here mi never experience this. Right now, mi just feel numb," she said.
At least five other persons, including Shemoy Strachan, who is six months pregnant, have been affected by the fire which began around 3:30 p.m. Strachan, 21, said she, too, has lost everything.
"I don't know what to do right now, aside from to stay with my babyfather. I lost everything, including stuff I already bought for the baby. I was at work when I get the call that there was a fire. One of my co-workers dropped me home but, by the time I got here, the fire was so big, I couldn't even come near the yard," she said.
Another victim, Charmaine Barclay, 45, told our news team that the fire, which is estimated to have caused millions in damage, has left her scrambling to pick up the pieces.
"I live here with my son for 25 years. This is where we call home, so I don't know what we going to do to recover from this right now," she said. No one was injured in the blaze, which has since triggered an investigation by the police and fire officials.
According to the Jamaica Fire Brigade's public relations officer, Kerry-Gayle Forbes, it took four units, from the Trench Town, Half-Way Tree, Rollington Town and York Park Fire stations, to out the fire.
"The investigation is currently ongoing. We can't determine everything so quickly, but the loss is $15 million and the estimated risk was $30 million. Not everything was totally destroyed, but some of the properties have been completely damaged. We have not yet established a motive for the fire, but we got the phone call at 3:58 p.m. and got around to the scene within five minutes," he said.