Two families in Deane’s Village, St Michael are now homeless after an early morning blaze that gutted two houses and partially damaged a third.
Neighbours are left agonizing over the total loss suffered by Zelma Gurley and her daughter, who lived in one of the two timber homes, and Stephen Martel, the sole occupant of the other.
For a few hours, the village united to help salvage a few belongings – including a refrigerator and a sofa – before the flames destroyed the Gurleys’ home.
Harriet Mayers, whose home suffered water damage when firefighters put out the blaze, could not hold back the tears as she recounted the harrowing experience to Barbados TODAY.
“I was inside and I just hear ‘boom’ twice. I ran out the back and when I came outside I saw them and I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Mayers.
“I am not too bothered by the two little boards that get damaged or the clothes that get wet down. I feel really hurt because these were good people and I don’t know what they are going to do. I gave them some clothes and I think Reco [Martel] went down by the Welfare Office. These are good people that use to help me if I don’t have anything to eat or if I need anything and they don’t deserve this,” sobbed Mayers, who lamented not being able to do more for her friends in need.
She told Barbados TODAY that the area’s MP, House Speaker Arthur Holder visited the family earlier and promised to render assistance through the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs.
“I really feel for her and I am praying that everything works out so that all of them get some help because it can’t be easy in these times to lose everything just like that. I don’t mind for myself I just want them to get help,” she stressed.
Hazel Martel said his brother Stephen was being very brave in the face of great adversity. He also said that he was confident that the family will rally around him to see him through the rough patch.
“He is doing pretty well under the circumstances and he is being very brave right now. Of course, he is a bit down but he is really facing the situation bravely and he is currently seeking help. As a family we are going to do what we can to make sure that he gets back on his feet,” Martel said.
After the fire broke out about 5:30 a.m. two tenders responded to the call along with nine officers under the command of Station Officer Forde and managed to extinguish the blaze.
On Sunday, fire struck at Silver Hill Landing Scheme, Christ Church. Two timber houses, owned by Judy Nurse, 59, and Carolyn Proverbs-Gooden respectively, were lost. A third wood and wall house, owned by Roger and Linda Barrow, was damaged in the fire.
On Monday, Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson suggested the time has come for homeowners’ insurance to be mandated by law.
But the Minister acknowledged that while the Mia Mottley administration was committed to addressing the issue, it may be some time before home insurance becomes compulsory.