Saturday, February 17, 2018

Family escapes arson attack


destroyed: Kezzie Hamilton and her husband Noel Ferreira stand outside their gutted home at Village Council Street in Laventille yesterday. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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NOEL FERREIRA believes he was saved by the grace of God yesterday after he and his family escaped an early morning arson attack.

Speaking with reporters outside the burnt shell of what was once his home yesterday in Laventille, Ferreira, 37, said he was awakened by his five-year-old daughter Chelsea after she climbed into the bed he was sharing with his wife Kezzie Hamilton, 33.

Ferreira said he then decided to sleep in his daughter's bedroom .

While in his daughter's bedroom, Ferreira said he heard an argument and a short while later, just around 4 a.m., he heard an explosion coming from a room adjacent to his daughter's which belonged to his 26-year-old relative.

Ferreira said had he not been awakened he believes he and his two prized possessions — his wife and daughter — would have been gone. He said if his daughter had not decided to crawl into his bed, forcing him into hers, the story would have been more tragic.

"It was not a coincidence. God woke me up," Ferreira said.

Ferreira said all he managed to escape with was the yellow boxer shorts he was wearing. His wife escaped with a towel, underwear and cellphone, while their child's only clothing was a nightgown.

He estimated the financial loss at $300,000. Hamilton said she knew the suspected arsonist, who is now hospitalised, did not try to harm her daughter, since he loved her unconditionally. She added that the hardest thing now was to start over.

The family lost all they had at their two-storey, four bedroom Village Council home that destroyed the home. The couple lived on the first storey of the house, while another relative, who has not been around for the past two weeks or so, occupied the upper storey.

"We work we tail off to lose it today. It is a little too hard to know that we worked hard and wore washed out clothes for a year and more to have to wear people clothes (now). That real tough," Hamilton a cashier said tearfully.

Hamilton lamented that furniture and appliances for which they were still paying were destroyed in the fire.

All the family wants now is a roof over their heads and will accept anything from those willing to assist. The couple was offered a place to sleep last night by a neighbour, while their daughter would be spending the night with her grandmother.

Asked if they would prefer to move out or have their home rebuilt, Ferreira said despite what may be said about Laventille, it was home and he did not want to leave.