Omar Goodman did everything he could to try to rescue Cedric McCarthy from a burning house at Free Hill, Black Rock, St Michael Monday.
However, in spite of his best efforts, he was unable to rescue McCarthy from the inferno that took the life of the 56-year-old man.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area Tuesday, Goodman recounted the experience, saying he was saddened that he was unable to help McCarthy, who suffered from epilepsy.
“We couldn’t hear him screaming or anything so we assumed that he was already unconscious, but we knew he was inside. When I pulled the gate, I realized it wouldn’t open so I figure it was locked from the inside, so I looked for another way to enter, but there was no other way,” Goodman explained.
“It was a board and wall house and by that time the front part had already burnt tremendously. The best entry was the gate and that was locked. I was going to go for a crowbar to break the gate, but by the time I stepped away I see the fire getting bigger,” he added.
Goodman said once he realized he could not enter the burning building his focus switched to helping prevent further damage to the neighbouring houses.
“The wind was blowing high, and changing direction. At one point the wind had the fire out to my direct neighbour’s house and it started to catch the power lines, so we were trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the other houses,” he said.
McCarthy’s estranged wife Nadine Small-McCarthy was too distraught to speak, but neighbours remembered McCarthy as a quiet man who did not socialize much.
“It’s so sad to hear what happened to him. He was a nice man and didn’t deserve that. We never saw him much because he was always in the house after he got sick,” said a neighbour who asked not to be identified.
The fire also caused minor damage to two other houses.
Three fire tenders along with 12 fire officers under the command of Divisional Officer Errol Gaskin responded to the scene.
As investigations continue into the circumstances surrounding the fire, lawmen are appealing to anyone with any information to contact the nearest police station.