Lloydsville, St Thomas residents protest over lack of fire truck
Residents of Lloydsville, St Thomas this morning blocked a section of the Yallahs main road to protest the absence of a fire truck at the Yallahs fire station which they say contributed to a fire which has left an elderly woman and her great-grandchild homeless.
The fire occurred about 6 o' clock yesterday evening, causing damage estimated at $8,000,000.
The elderly woman's house is located across from the fire station.
The Yallahs fire department has been without a fire truck for nearly a year, leaving the parish to rely on the single unit in Morant Bay, which is located some 14 miles away from that station.
The upset residents claimed that the elderly woman's house could have been saved if there was a working fire truck at the yallahs station.
They also lashed out at the government for what they said is its blatant disregard for the parish.
Andrea Atkinson, a neighbour who said she witnessed the ordeal, told The Gleaner that the elderly woman and her great grandson were home alone at the time of the fire.
“I was in my living room about after 6 when I noticed that my lights were flickering like mi have short circuit suh mi seh to miself 'a hope a nuh nobody a thief light enuh',” Atkinson said.
“I went outside to look then I heard my neighbour crying ‘help me, help me!’, when I looked I glanced fire coming from her bedroom,” she said adding that she rushed back inside to call the fire department located across the road from where they live.
Atkinson said after making the call, she rushed back outside to help but was prevented from doing so because of the intensity of the heat from the fire.
No one was hurt by the fire, but the elderly woman had to be taken to hospital because she went into a state of shook.
By the time firefighters from Morant Bay responded, the blaze had already destroyed the elderly woman's house.
Firefighter tells his side
Meanwhile, a firefighter at the Yallahs fire department, who asked not to be identified, shared his frustration with The Gleaner over the lack of a fire truck at the station.
“People call the station all the time and deal with us in some derogatory ways because they think we take them business for a joke,” he said.
“I remember the other day I was working the front desk and there was a bushfire near the station that was threatening a man’s house. He called the station roughly ten times and was getting more upset each time. I couldn't’t wait to leave the front desk because I ran out of things to tell the man because we had to be waiting for the one truck to come,” he recounted.
He also outlined what he said is a typical day at the fire station.
“Other than the person taking the calls and making the reports to the head station, there’s nothing there to do but to sit and look. That is why people always say we are lazy but that is not the case. It’s just that the facilities that should be there aren’t there and there is nothing for us to do,” he said.