PORT OF SPAIN – Pensioners Nateram and Ivy Jagroop narrowly escaped death when arsonists fire-bombed their home in Princes Town yesterday.
Jagroop, 79, of Perry Young Road, had just returned from his garden when he noticed a strange green car parked on the roadway near his house, shortly after 9 am.
Instead of investigating, Jagroop said he decided to take a bath because he was tired. As he headed to the bathroom, Jagroop said he heard two loud crashes followed by an explosion.
“One of the bombs hit the wardrobe and the other hit the bed. I thought to grab my deed and my keyboard because I like to play my lil music and sing my bhajans (religious songs) but the fire was spreading quickly. I called out to my wife to get out of the house. Everything burn down in a matter of minutes,” Jagroop said.
Police said two molotov cocktails had been flung from the front of the house, striking the sliding glass windows.
Neighbours heard the couple’s screaming and went to their aid but the fire spread rapidly. Their son Seelochan who was downstairs quickly rushed to their aid when a passing motorist told him the upper floor of the house was on fire.
Ivy, who suffers from heart disease and a low blood count, was brought out of the house safely but Jagroop suffered minor burns on his arm and back. Their car was also burnt along with everything else. A team of fire officers led by acting FSSO Arrindell and including fire officers Rooplal, Joseph and Jervais from the Princes Town Fire Station responded to the fire and put it out.
Seelochan said the house and valuables were worth over $500,000.
“Right now we don’t even know where we would sleep. I cannot understand this. Why would anyone do this to us,” Seelochan said.
A distraught Ivy added, “I couldn’t even save my deed. All I have now is the clothes on my back and my husband has his old garden pants. We lost everything. We had no land dispute with anyone. We have no enemies. We live good with people and we accustomed to leaving the gates wide open.” Now that this has happened, the pensioners said they would have to take additional safety precautions.
Police say they have no motive behind the arson. Remnants of the molotov cocktails were taken for forensic testing. Anyone wanting to help the family can contact them at 337-7053 or 357-3633.
Anyone wanting to share information about the arson can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-TIPS.