Tue | May 22, 2018

Christmas on a fridge - Months after fire, victims miss out on happy holidays

Published:Thursday | December 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Fire victim Izada Dawkins. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter

The traditional fruitcake, sorrel wine and family time during dinner are some of the things Izada Dawkins has always looked forward to at Christmas.

But with all that missing this week, she has been forced to reminisce on the happy moments of previous festive seasons.

Dawkins was among 60 persons left homeless after a massive fire destroyed their houses on Regent Street in downtown Kingston three months ago.

The fire wiped out an entire block comprising several residential dwellings and a few business establishments that transect Regent and Beeston streets and Chestnut Lane near the heavily commercialised area of western Kingston.

The 63-year-old said she spent most of her time during the festive season lying on an old fridge in her yard, thinking back and sobbing over her dismal situation.

"Christmas is normally a lively time for me, so it is depressing to see how things work out this year. I am still trying to pick up the pieces but it is really rough," she lamented.

Dawkins added: "I lie on the piece a fridge and just think about it, I couldn't do anything else because I didn't have anything to make a good Christmas. I still don't even have a proper place to live much less money to buy things for Christmas."

The elderly woman said she has been seeking assistance from the public and government officials but, with all that failing, she is forced to set up a makeshift home which now houses her family of four, including her six-year-old granddaughter.

"All I could manage to do is board around a little room that was left and my friend give me a bed. My granddaughter keeps saying she is not comfortable but we don't have a choice, we just have to keep the faith because as long as there is life, there is hope," she argued.

As the new year gets closer, Dawkins said her wish is for her family to return to happiness in a comfortable home.

Dawkins is only one of many persons in the community who, after the fire, can only hang on to faith hoping that their situations will improve.

Michelle Whyte, 42, pleaded with the authorities to answer their call for help.

"We no get no help, is just the mercy of God helping us to pull through. This is the second time I am getting burned out and I lose all my belongings and so any little money I have, I have to use it to help put back my life on track, so I didn't have it to make any Christmas," she explained.

"After the incident, I was living in a shop and then now I get half of a room from my brother, so it not easy. It stress me when me flash back on how my Christmas used to be, but me nah make it stress me and kill me," she added.

It was similar for 48-year-old Michael Foote, who is forced to reside in the house which was destroyed with only a tarpaulin as his roof.