PORT OF SPAIN – A San Francique family is facing a bleak Christmas after their home and furniture business were destroyed yesterday in a suspected arson attack Wednesday.
The family says they estimated their loses to be over $2.5 million.
As family members sifted through the rubble to salvage what they could Wednesday, Bhesham Bhim, the head of the household, tried to come to terms with the tragedy.
“I have no enemies. I don’t know who will do something like this. I know for sure is not electrical,” said Bhim as he stood in the rubble at Pluck Road, near Woodland.
Bhim, who has been in the business of building and selling furniture, including wardrobes, chest of drawers, living room and dining room sets, for ten years, had been operating his business — Bhesham’s Furniture Shop — at that location for the past five years.
The furniture store and a parlour were located to the front, his four-bedroom home in the middle and to the back was his woodwork factory and a warehouse.
Everything was destroyed in the fire which began around 1 a.m. The blaze also destroyed his Kia van.
Fortunately Bhim, his wife, Nesha, and three children — ages six, ten and 13 — were not injured.
Recounting the ordeal, Bhim said: “I was sleeping . . . well I don’t sleep strong. I smell smoke and I run out in the back and I saw one of the walls on fire. The factory was on fire. I believe someone threw something. We try outing it but it was too much.”
By the time firefighters arrived on the scene about 45 minutes later the property was engulfed in flames.
“If the fire brigade had responded sooner they could have saved more. They took too long,” said Bhim. He estimated that the damage at 95 per cent.
“I did not have insurance. We have to start back from scratch. We already had built some furniture for Christmas and had the material to build more. We were only able to save a few pieces of furniture, wardrobes and chest of drawers. ”
In the meantime, Bhim said he and his family would relocate back to his mother’s house where they had stayed previously.
Acting Sergeant Haynes of Penal Police Station is investigating.