For some 80 years Verda Babb has known only one home. This morning, the house in which Babb grew up and spent virtually her entire life was destroyed in the blink of an eye.
Tears came to the eyes of the 83-year-old Babb and disbelief was carved on her face as she watched fire consuming the house at Reid’s Land, Goodland, St Michael.
“Oh Lord, the house burn down so quick. To think that I come there from the time I was a girl. The house went quicker than quick. The house was burning and then it was gone,” the elderly woman told Barbados TODAY as she sat in the living room at her son’s home at Bridge Gap.
Babb’s wooden structure and one other house were destroyed by the blaze that started around 8.30 a.m. and left five people homeless. A workshop was also damaged.
Babb said she was picking up leaves in the yard when she saw her son, Tyrone, heading for the house with a bucket of water. Tyrone, along with his brothers David and Grantley Babb, also lived with Babb.
The senior citizen said although she was now facing the reality that her home was gone, it ached her heart that “I live there for so long and all the children born there and
“I gone in the yard. I picking up the leaves and I see he running saying, ‘fire, the house on fire’. But the girl next door tell me come and she carry me come and sit down. Oh Lord, I was there so comfortable but I ain’t know the house gine burn down,” the mother of seven said.
Meanwhile, Marcelle Griffith, the elderly occupant of the other structure, said she was in the yard carrying out her morning chores when she smelled smoke before someone raised the alarm.
A shaken Griffith said she was thankful that she was not inside of the house when the fire began.
“I am okay for now. I praise the Lord that I am here today that I could still stand up here. I still a little shake up, but . . . ,” Griffith said standing close to the scene, flanked by family members who gathered to offer her support.
As the scene unfolded, residents demonstrated what it meant to be a close-knit community. Young men rushed to the wooden structures in an attempt to save as much of the contents as possible but only managed to get items out of Griffith’s house because the fire at Babb’s residence was raging.
Jamal Watson, 31, was among them and he said he was visiting the area when he saw the fire and decided to help.
“This house was burning first and we tried to get the door open and the flame come out so we went to the next house.
“We just went in and start pulling out the chairs and the beds, the washing machine.
My friend had the fridge but he drop it because of the flames,” Watson explained.
Neighbour Michelle Barker witnessed the scene unfolding, and worried that the fire would spread to her house, she asked her nephew to douse it.
“It was a lot of help. The community helped. They tried to lift off the doors and the windows but it was too much fire,” Barker said.
Member of Parliament Michael Carrington was at the scene and he told Barbados TODAY that he had already contacted the relevant social organizations seeking assistance for the displaced.
“I am thankful that there was no loss of life. I want to give thanks too for the work of the fire service and the ambulance who responded fairly quickly.
“And all we can hope for now is that we are able to help these people get their lives back together because I can’t imagine what it would be to lose everything you have got,” Carrington said.
Three fire tenders and at least 12 officers responded to the blaze. Paramedics also treated Grantley Babb who suffered burns to his face as he attempted to put out the fire.