In the wake of a midday fire on Thursday that has left up to ten people homeless and a distraught mother wondering how she would get a roof over her young ones’ heads, Member of Parliament for St James North Edmund Hinkson is appealing to the Freundel Stuart administration not to shut down the Weston Fire Station.
There has been no official announcement about the closure of the fire station, but Hinkson, the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) representative, said word had been going around that the station would be closed.
If this happens, Hinkson told Barbados TODAY, it would leave virtually the entire north of the island vulnerable.
“This is the second fire in St James North and in close vicinity within the last few days. We in St James have been hearing that the Weston Fire Station would be closed in the near future for whatever reason. I haven’t been told as member of parliament on this and I would think that by common courtesy if that’s indeed the case, a government should inform a member of parliament whether they are opposition member of parliament or not, as to what developments are taking place in his constituency.
“I’m hoping that the Government made adequate provisions for emergencies such as what happened today, to be dealt with as speedily as possible. If Weston Fire Station is closed, it would mean that there are no stations servicing the north of the island. It would leave just Arch Hall to service the whole north and this presents problem,” the BLP legislator said.
Thursday’s fire at Prescod Road, Mount Standfast, St James razed a house belonging to Elizabeth Richards Miller and her children, destroying virtually all their belongings.
“My daughter call me and tell me, ‘mummy, mummy, down here burning’, and I just drop my phone, beg someone for a lift and when I get here everything was done burn,” a tearful Miller said.
“My son was trying to bring out some things, I don’t know what, but he come and say, ‘mummy, mummy, everything gone’, and his hands were burnt. All that was saved was a box with a couple of clothes and a deep freezer belonging to my daughter who rents the shop,” she said.
Miller told Barbados TODAY that although it was one structure, three homes were lost.
“It was divided into three; my son had a two-bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom; my other son had the same and my daughter had the same two-bedroom set up, but she also had a shop,”
Miller said she had no idea where they would sleep tonight, but her main concern was trying to make arrangements for her children and grandchildren.
However, Hinkson said he was on the ball and would do all he could to assist.
“We are going to take them down to the National Assistance Board, Welfare Department, Ministry of Housing, to see what assistance could be provided in terms of housing. I would have spoken with Minister [of Housing Denis] Kellman on the issue this afternoon, I would hope that state agencies could provide some assistance.
“I’ve already made contact with one of the major clothes retailers in Barbados to provide school uniforms for the children for next week. My political foundation will help out as well because of course we want the children to go back to school with as little disruption as possible,” he said.