Family of 12 ravaged by fire gets help to reconstruct home
BUFF BAY, WEST PORTLAND
A family of 12 who had been left homeless after fire ravaged their home is to receive assistance to reconstruct their dwelling, amid appeals for even more help for basic supplies to get them sufficiently restored.The family, which includes three children under the age of 10 years, has been staying at a church in Buff Bay, Portland since fire gutted their five-bedroom house at Kildaire district on Sunday, June 4.
The plight of the fire victims was realised following an appeal for assistance by Bishop Marcelene Peccoo of the Mount Faith Shabbak Outreach Ministry at Nelson Street in Buff Bay, West Portland, where the group sought refuge.
“It is rough on us. They lost everything. They have been here from Sunday night and we try to make them as comfortable as possible,” said Bishop Peccoo.
“The mother is very sickly and the family is traumatised. We have to remember that they need their space and they need their little comfort. It is also hard on us (because) we have to find the food, because they are not working. People you know … the neighbourhood offers assistance by bringing clothes. I don’t believe the clothes is important ... they need shelter,” she said.
She added, “So we are making (an) appeal for assistance for them. Whosoever can come in immediately, I am praying that they do so in Jesus’ name. It is a large family and it is very rough. We have to just keep on encouraging them, but that will not heal their pain. They need ... shelter because they cannot live like this and they cannot live in the church.”
People’s National Party (PNP) councillor caretaker, Desmond Lewis, has committed to assist with building material to kick-start the construction.
Lewis said, “Their five-bedroom home was destroyed. Twelve persons are without a roof over their heads. It is heartbreaking. It is sad. It is difficult for the family. What we have done is to give some assistance and to start the foundation of the building for them. We’ll be providing concrete blocks, we’ll be providing sand, we’ll be providing cement for these people to start. But what we’ll be appealing for from the general public is to ensure that the people can get proper assistance, so that dem have roof over dem head as quickly as possible.
“We need the political representatives to step up to the plate and I believe they should be here forthwith and provide assistance. It is critical. The people are desperate. Every single thing they have lost and they have to start all over. This is what the family is facing and this is what they are in need of, assistance.”Matriarch, 78-year-old Velma Gillespie, explained that on the day of the incident they were at a church service, as was customary, when they were alerted that their five- bedroom board house at Kildaire was on fire shortly after 8 p.m. She said that some family members rushed home, but by then it was too late, as the entire house was already engulfed by flames.
“I couldn’t reach [the fire] as I am diabetic. From it happen is right here we have been. I just don’t know what to do. Mi need a shelter. That is the first thought. We lose everything. Even my daughter husband that works on the garbage truck lost his pay $40,000 in the fire. Even Sunday’s rice and peas, fry chicken, and escovitch fish, bun up inna di fire,” she said.
They reportedly lost several beds, three gas stoves, gas cylinders, refrigerator, standing fan, sofa, smart television set, cellphones, and tablets.