Man killed in fire, family left homeless
Firefighters are investigating the origin of a fatal blaze that destroyed a four-bedroom tenement dwelling on Old Harbour Road.
Conroy Houston, 61, who lived in a front room, died in the blaze after getting trapped.
Five other occupants, including a one-year-old infant and an eight-year-old, were rescued from the dwelling before it was engulfed in flames.
Divisional Superintendent Dennis Lyon disclosed that firefighters were summoned to the scene just after 11:30 Monday night. Two units were despatched from the Spanish Town Fire Station.
“During the firefighting operation, we were advised that a gentleman was inside one of the rooms. However, the blaze was so severe it prevented us from getting to him,” Lyon told The Gleaner on Tuesday.
“We were also faced with the challenge of the door being bolted from the inside, making it even more difficult to get to him,” he added.
Tavine Soares, a tenant who was assisted by her babyfather to escape the blaze with her year-old child, said she was inside her room when the fire started.
“Last night, I was in my room and I heard the man in the front room bawl out ... ,” Soares recounted.
“We get out of the house and then the fire blaze up, and some other tenant also come out, but the man up front couldn’t get out.”
Soares said she lost everything in the fire and will have to restart her life from scratch.
In the meantime, St Catherine South Central Member of Parliament Andrew Wheatley, who visited the scene, was overcome with emotion. He described Houston’s death as a tragedy.
“Conroy worked for us at the constituency level and also as part of our road maintenance crew. He was loved by everyone around here,” Wheatley told The Gleaner.
“It is a sad, sad time for us. It was just yesterday that I saw him going over to the Homestead Primary School where he also worked, and we exchanged pleasantries.”
The member of parliament said he will be dispatching a team on the ground to undertake an assessment of the scale of destruction to help the homeless.
The fire brigade has estimated damage at $5 million.