A 77-year-old Brittons Hill, St Michael man is thanking his lucky stars that he was not in when the deteriorating house in which he lived for many years came crashing down around
1 p.m. Monday.
Trinidadian-born Theophilus Theo Cupen gave his neighbours a scare, prompting several of them to search through the debris fearing the elderly man may have been trapped underneath.
“I heard the house start crackling and my neighbour tell me that Theo house is coming down and then when I came out I saw that the house was flat. I thought he was in there but thank God he was in the yard, luckily for him,” said Trevor Rose, who lives opposite the now crumbled structure.
“Other neighbours ran out as well to help but thankfully he was alright.”
It was not long after the house collapsed that Chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB) Dr David Durant turned up to assess the damage and offer assistance.
Durant, whose Restoration Ministries is located approximately 50 feet from Cupen’s home, said he was considering asking the Urban Development Commission to build a new home for the elderly man on the same spot.
“I have called the . . . Urban Development Commission and Ministry of Transport and Works to make sure that they get the equipment up here to start taking this [the structure] away because it is dangerous.
“He [Cupen] was attempting to go inside to take out some of his belongings and I told him not to do that because something may fall on him. I told him when the authorities come and they move the things in a systematic order he can
get some personal things out,” Durrant said.
“We at the National Assistance Board are currently making some inquiries into temporary housing and as long as we establish that the land is his, Urban would be able out work out something quickly in terms of rebuilding the structure,” he added.
The Government senator also expressed concern over the number of aging structures around the island, arguing they posed a threat to occupants and their neighbours alike.
He also advised people living in similar condition to seek assistance from the relevant authorities, including the NAB.
“He [Cupen] never came forward to tell us anything because he said he was trying on his own. But I told him ‘although you are trying on your own you should have let us know’. This type of situation is a worry to the National Assistance Board and me. We are seeing more of these aging houses around the nation and they are health and safety hazards especially when elderly people live in them,” Durant stressed.