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3 homes gutted, 12 homeless

Published: 
Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Collymore family and the Parris family of Union Park East, Marabella, stood outside the still smoking rubble, trying to figure out how to go about piecing their lives back together. The families were unable to save anything in the blaze which also destroyed a Ford Laser car.

Recalling the incident, Cuthbert Collymore, 45, a driver for a catering company, said his brother Cleyon and relative Ronnie Braithwaite lived in the house, in which he grew up and he still occupies a room there. Collymore said he also built a house to the back of his family home where he lived with his wife, Liz Singh, two sons, Triston, nine and Trey, seven, and nephew, Jerome, ten.

He said around 3.45 pm he was in his family’s house when he smelt smoke, but neither the children nor Braithwaite were alerted by the smoke.  “The children were playing with the phones,” he said.

“When I went into my room I saw a wall blazing,” said Collymore and he immediately raised an alarm. He said there was no water in the tap so they could not even try to extinguish the blaze.

Collymore said his wife had already bought their children’s school books for the new term in September.  Meanwhile, Nigel Parris, 49, a landscaper, said his wife Bettyann Kanhai and three children, twins Nikesha, 18, and Tereisha, and Josiah, six, were at home when the fire started. Kanhai said she was outside with the children when they saw smoke, but she did not pay any attention to it.

“It was only when we see the other people pulling out the mattress and thing we ran to the back of the house where we saw the wall (which separates the Collymore’s house from their’s) on fire. There was no water so we try to throw water from the barrel, but we were not able to retrieve anything, the fire done spread,” said Nikesha.

The families said the Office of Disaster and Preparedness Management gave them mattresses, pillows, water and a hamper, but neither the local government councillor nor MP David Lee visited or contacted them. The families had to split up and are staying by different relatives. They are appealing for assistance to rebuild their homes.