Friday, January 19, 2018

Family of eight homeless after Barrackpore fire


UP IN SMOKE: Anil Ramjattan examines the shell of a welding unit burnt during a fire that destroyed his Congo Trace, Barrackpore, home on Saturday. Looking on is Member of Parliament for the area Nizam Baksh. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

Cancer survivor Surujdaye Ramdass had planned to celebrate her birthday with loved ones at a special dinner on Saturday night.

But her plans were ruined when fire destroyed her home and everything she ever owned.

Ramdass’ home was destroyed in a raging bush fire at Congo Trace, Barrackpore.

She said no one was at home when the flames spread to her home and efforts by neighbours to save the building were unsuccessful.

“I was helping a friend prepare a bassinet for a baby in Vistabella. My son called and said a neighbour called with news that our house was on fire. By the time I got there the house was destroyed,” she said.

Ramdass, 53, said her medical documents were among the items destroyed in the blaze.

Ramdass lived in the house with her five children and two grandchildren.

Her son, Riad Marcano, said he was at his workplace in Diamond Village, near San Fernando, when he received a telephone call.

“The bush fire started around 10 a.m., but I got a call around 2.05 p.m. that the house was burning. When I got there it was burnt to the ground,” he said.

Marcano said neighbours contacted the fire department, but officers were unable to contain the blaze. “Maybe if they had called the fire officers earlier they could have saved the building. But they tried to out the blaze first,” he said.

The family’s rottweiler, Darkie, died in the fire. Two other dogs were rescued by neighbours. Marcano said his daughter’s school uniform and books were also destroyed.

Minister of Public Utilities and Naparima MP Nizam Baksh visited the family and promised to assist, while Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development has helped the family in finding a temporary apartment until they can rebuild their home.

Anyone willing to assist the family can contact Marcano at 308-2760.