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After five years ...'I remember it like yesterday'

Published:Wednesday | January 16, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Victor Richards and his common-law wife, Suzette Barnaby, pick up building material to rebuild their home which was burnt to the ground in July 2007 in Shanty Town in the Payne Avenue community of Kingston. They and four of their five children have been living with neighbours since 2007 while Richards manages to scavenge building material from the Riverton City dump in order to put a roof over his family. - photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Richards lifts a mattress to be placed in his home under construction.

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

Victor Richards is still trying to cope with the excruciating pain that accompanies the memories of a fire that destroyed his house more than five years ago. He has been unable to find a stable place of residence for his family since.

Richards lives with his common-law wife and four children in a community called Shanty Town located along Spanish Town Road in Kingston.

"I remember it like yesterday. It was the 21st of July in 2007 and I was out hustling. When mi take a check mi see this big fire coming from my house," Richards said.

"I ran instantly as my youngest son was just over a year old at the time. Fortunately, neighbours had rescued him from the house before."

The house was reduced to mere rubble as the furniture and all their belongings went up in flames.

The worst feeling

"It was one of the worst feelings, to the way how it hurt me, I always remember the day when it happen. Mi baby mother clothes and every little thing that we had gone, every little thing I was trying to build up gone. It was really the worst feeling. Mi all have one pants and one shirt weh mi did have weh mi affi wash out and change everyday," he lamented.

After living with his neighbours for five years, Richards has started to rebuild his house from scratch, using material he acquires from the Riverton City dump.

"I have to be searching for old material in the dump because from it happen it leave mi flat pon mi face. I cyaa get any help so mi affi just gwaan hustle and try support the family. Right now I here talking to you and I don't have anything to give my baby mother or children to eat. It rough pon mi," he said.

"I would be thankful to get some help so I can move on, before I used to jerk chicken and so forth, now I have to be selling some hassock my neighbour makes so I can have a little money which isn't enough" he added.