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Mid-afternoon fire leaves 13 homeless

At least 13 people, including a two-year-old, were left homeless today, when a mid-afternoon fire destroyed a wooden house at Jordan Land, Deacons, St Michael and extensively damaged two adjoining homes.

It was not immediately clear who occupied the house that was razed to the ground, but it was owned by Patricia Blackman of St Philip. The two damaged homes were owned by 67-year-old Carlita Kartie, who lived in a section of one of the houses. Kartie’s nine grandchildren, her daughter and the daughter’s spouse resided in the other section. The other house was being rented.

Firemen working feverishly to douse the blaze.

Firemen working feverishly to douse the blaze.

A large crowd of curious onlookers gathered at the scene.

A large crowd of curious onlookers gathered at the scene.

Neighbours reacted quickly to help rescue the children, and there were no reports of injury. However, an asthmatic sibling received medical attention on the spot by Emergency Ambulance Service personnel, after experiencing difficulty as a result of smoke inhalation.

“All I know is that dem father gone to Welfare [Department] and supposed to come back. Lisa [sibbling] say duh father say to watch the children till duh father get back home. I did watch dem; and when I come ’cross here I see the bed on fire. One uh dem tell me how de boy went in de kitchen and den duh come back and see de boy underneath de bed. Ah aint know wuh went on from dey,” related Kartie’s 21-year-old daughter, Samantha Peters.

Fighting back the tears, an emotional Kartie, who said she was asleep when the fire started, lamented that she only recently repaired the building which she and her family called home.

The Member of Parliament for the area Michael Carrington told reporters he had sought assistance from various Government agencies, including the Welfare Department and the Urban Development Commission, for the displaced families.

The smoke from today’s fire forced the closure of the nearby Odolls Aluminum and Glass Limited.

Acting Divisional Fire Officer Gordon Boxill said the Fire Service received the call at 12:44 p.m. and responded initially with ten men and a sub officer with two water tenders. These were followed later by a tanker and two other officers, along with the Chief Fire Officer and his deputy.

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