The New Year has opened with a family of four now without a place to call home after a vicious fire destroyed their Perfection Road, Bush Hall, St Michael home.
The three-bedroom wooden house was occupied by 36-year-old Kimberley Hunte and her three children – 14-year-old Tutarkamon St Cyr, eight-year-old Kishawn Burnett and six-year-old Tayshawn Burnett.
Hunte’s home was gutted by the blaze, while the neighbouring house occupied by 66-year-old Trevor Jordan was extensively damaged in the blaze of unknown origin.
The fire victim was at work when the fire started around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon, and rushed to the scene after she got the call from her sister Sylvia Inniss.
“My sister told me, ‘Kim your house burning and flat’. I didn’t even know what to do,” she recounted, adding that so distressing was the news that it made her collapse in the middle of Swan Street, The City.
Thankfully, her children who were playing at home at the time of the fire, escaped unscathed, but all of their belongings and treasured family valuables were destroyed.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY from the ruins this afternoon, Hunte, who has two other children who did not reside with her, was close to tears as she recalled how heavily she had invested in renovating her home for the Christmas holidays.
Though thankful for life, she also could not help but lament that the Christmas gifts she had just purchased for her children had simply gone up in flames.
Meantime, her sister said the loss of her childhood home had come as a devastating blow to Hunte, as she also recalled the amount of work that had gone into fixing up of the home for Christmas.
“She changed all the windows, she fixed everything that needed to be fixed,” Inniss said, adding that “she spent so much money [and] for the first time in her life she actually got to do what she had to do for her children and I felt so good as her sister. I said, ‘sis you do good this year’ . . . That is why I freaked out [when the fire occurred]”.
“It is a really big loss for my sister and I feel really hurt, I can feel her pain right now,” Inniss added sorrowfully.
Inniss, who immediately rushed to the scene after receiving word of the blaze from a family friend who lives in the district, described how the entire house was gutted by fire within minutes.
She said efforts by neighbours and fire officials to salvage any remains were futile, with one neighbour sustaining a burn to his arm in the process.
This was the second such disaster for Hunte, whose mother’s Bank Hall, St Michael home was also destroyed by a blaze in December 2016.
“My mum’s house burnt down last year just before Christmas too,” Hunte acknowledged incredulously.
“I want to know just what it is that really going on.”
The distressed mother-of-five told Barbados TODAY: “When I catch myself I break down and cry because I just can’t believe it.”
Looking ahead, Hunte said she would seek counseling for her children who were traumatized by the loss of their home.
However, despite her current plight, she said she was extremely thankful that “my children alive and I have life, so I can start over again”.
In the meantime she will be staying at her sister’s White Hall, St Michael residence with her constituency representative, Opposition Leader Mia Mottley having promised assistance.