What began as a response to a single house fire in a densely populated St Michael district quickly resulted in several damaged properties this afternoon.
It was around 3 p.m. today when the fire of unknown origin broke out in Thomas Gap, Westbury Road destroying five houses and damaging three.
Acting Chief Fire Cfficer Errol Maynard told Barbados TODAY 12 officers and two water tenders with a tanker responded promptly to the blaze. Those displaced include Mariam Wickham, Norma Best, David Bennett, Sheila Mapp, Rudolph Mapp and Junette Harper.
Paul Rollins, a resident of the area and one of the first to offer assistance to the affected, said when he arrived on the scene about three houses were on fire. He said he sought to offer assistance to those occupants directly next to the Westbury cemetery.
“The houses behind were burning very, very cruel. I was in there trying to pull people from the house. I cleared the asthmatics from the area and made sure that they were in safe location,” Rollins said.
Speaker of the House and parliamentary representative for St Michael West Michael Carrington as well as former parliamentary representative for the constituency Reverend Joseph Atherley were also present on the scene shortly after the fire broke out.
They expressed sympathy to the affected property owners.
Carrington also told Barbados TODAY he was relieved that no lives were lost but he was deeply concerned about the large number of persons who lived in uninsured timber homes.
”I’ve had a concern for a long time, this is not the first time. We know that there is a problem with the chattel houses and I feel that it is time that we sit down and try to get some creative solution with respect to insurance.
“A lot of these people are at the lower end of the [economic] scale in terms of earnings. I know it is going to be difficult and I know it is going to be expensive but I feel that we can have some kind of scheme . . . to ensure that these properties [are insured] so that Government doesn’t bear all the weight when it comes to these things,” he said.
Carrington also revealed that he had spoken to officials of the Urban Development Commission and the Welfare Department with a view to offering assistance to e displaced residents. But Field Officer of the UDC Wendall Springer told Barbados TODAY there was very little the Commission could do to assist the displaced because they did not have any houses available.