Tue | Jul 7, 2020

New Denham Town homeowners warned against fire hazards

Published:Tuesday | May 26, 2020 | 12:23 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie hands to Nicole Francis, seen here alongside her son, Damion Green, keys to their new home on Elgin Street, Denham Town, on Monday. Francis lost her home to fire nine years ago.
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie hands to Nicole Francis, seen here alongside her son, Damion Green, keys to their new home on Elgin Street, Denham Town, on Monday. Francis lost her home to fire nine years ago.

WITH MORE than 500 residents of the Kingston Western constituency rendered homeless by fire in the last six years, four families who received keys to houses in Denham Town have been warned against the hazard of stealing electricity.

Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie said during yesterday’s handover of keys that the beneficiaries were among families who had suffered loss of their homes to fire as recent as a year ago.

The project cost less than $11 million, McKenzie said, and was funded through the local government ministry’s Social Indigent Programme.

McKenzie, who is also member of parliament for Kingston Western, where the Elgin Street houses are located, warned the owners of the brand new homes that they might be evicted for violations such as the illegal abstraction of electricity and water. Illegal-throw-up connections are sometimes linked to electrical fires.

“This premises was gutted by fire over a year ago and the residents were left without anywhere. ... We have been suffering from fires in West Kingston,” the minister said.

“Since the year started, we have had over 10 major fires in the constituency.”

McKenzie vowed to build out more units across the constituency as funds were made available.

He added that the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation would play a role in enforcing discipline and that the new owners should care for their homes.

“You have an obligation to show you are worthy,” he said.

Two of the homes are two-bedroom units while the other two have one bedroom each.

Recipient of one of the homes, Monique Francis, said that she was displaced by fire nine years ago but only received a call recently that she would be a beneficiary. She was elated that she can now rest comfortably with her children, even though she may have to source funds to create partitions in the one-bedroom unit.

“Regardless of what, family never turned their back on me when my house burned down. I have my own space now and I am grateful,” said Francis, who pledged to be compliant with water-supply and power payments.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com