Close call for elderly man

A 77-year-old Brittons Hill, St Michael man is thanking his lucky stars that he was not in when the deteriorating house in which he lived for many years came crashing down around
1 p.m. Monday.

Trinidadian-born Theophilus Theo Cupen gave his neighbours a scare, prompting several of them to search through the debris fearing the elderly man may have been trapped underneath.

“I heard the house start crackling and my neighbour tell me that Theo house is coming down and then when I came out I saw that the house was flat. I thought he was in there but thank God he was in the yard, luckily for him,” said Trevor Rose, who lives opposite the now crumbled structure.

This is all that is left of Theophilus Cupen’s home which collapsed Monday afternoon.

“Other neighbours ran out as well to help but thankfully he was alright.”

It was not long after the house collapsed that Chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB) Dr David Durant turned up to assess the damage and offer assistance.

Durant, whose Restoration Ministries is located approximately 50 feet from Cupen’s home, said he was considering asking the Urban Development Commission to build a new home for the elderly man on the same spot.

“I have called the  . . . Urban Development Commission and Ministry of Transport and Works to make sure that they get the equipment up here to start taking this [the structure] away because it is dangerous.

“He [Cupen] was attempting to go inside to take out some of his belongings and I told him not to do that because something may fall on him. I told him when the authorities come and they move the things in a systematic order he can
get some personal things out,” Durrant said.

“We at the National Assistance Board are currently making some inquiries into temporary housing and as long as we establish that the land is his, Urban would be able out work out something quickly in terms of rebuilding the structure,” he added.

The Government senator also expressed concern over the number of aging structures around the island, arguing they posed a threat to occupants and their neighbours alike.

He also advised people living in similar condition to seek assistance from the relevant authorities, including the NAB.

“He [Cupen] never came forward to tell us anything because he said he was trying on his own. But I told him ‘although you are trying on your own you should have let us know’. This type of situation is a worry to the National Assistance Board and me. We are seeing more of these aging houses around the nation and they are health and safety hazards especially when elderly people live in them,” Durant stressed.

3 Responses to Close call for elderly man

  1. concerned August 1, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Dr. Durant, this structure was 50 feet from Restoration Ministries and you or others in the congregation never noticed its condition and reached out to help the occupant? Does the ministry only assist those who come forward for help? What about evangelistic and community-based initiatives to show the love of God by providing non-requested assistance to those in need? And for the NAB, more should be done than seeing aging houses around the nation and waiting for people to come forward for assistance. Identify whose occupied by elderly people. Assess the situation. When established criteria are met, approach construction firms, hardware stores, and similar businesses about donating materials and/or labour to repair those that can be repaired. Also, solicit volunteers from the neighborhood to help by digging, hammering, lifting, etc.

  2. BIGSKY August 1, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I have been preaching this throughout my posts,companies here are fleecing people and are not giving back to the society in a tangible way.Flow,Digicel,Simpson Motors,Nasco and all others can help rebuild one home of the elderly or disable in one community every year and see how it would transform Barbados as a whole.

    • Hewers of wood August 1, 2017 at 8:19 am

      @Bigsky – It appears you have a big heart and big ideas also. However, one would say that these companies already contribute to sports, which will give them drawbacks. I keep saying all the time we need to support our own people as those people will do the same. Another thing this gentleman did not go for any help as stated. He said he was trying on his own, could also have been a touch of pride. Glad he escaped unhurt. Too many of this people is actually living like this in squalor.


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