An elderly St Michael man is now homeless for the holidays while a woman is nursing minor injuries after a mid-morning blaze gutted a house at Clevedale Development, Black Rock.
The fire, which broke out just after 10 a.m., has left homeowner Alvin Cadogan unsure about his next move.
Witnesses told Barbados TODAY the unidentified woman was home alone making breakfast at the stove when it caught fire. The woman escaped with minor burns on her neck. Two fire engines and nine firefighters managed to control the blaze by 11 a.m. Police have begun investigating the cause of the blaze.
An eyewitness said she heard an explosion and came outside her home just in time to see the house going up in flames. “The next thing I see the lady running outside with her hair on fire,” she said, identifying the woman only as Cadogan’s girlfriend.
A disconsolate Cadogan said that all he had left were the clothes that he was wearing when he left home. With no money in the bank and unemployed, the 65-year-old man is now at the mercy of neighbours and state assistance.
“I left home this morning around 9 a.m. and when I came back after 10, neighbours tell me that my house burn down. I lost everything, nothing at all was saved. I have nowhere to go because I really don’t have relatives that I could stay by, so I might just have to sleep on the road tonight. Right now, I don’t work anywhere because they don’t employ old people now,” said Cadogan, who told Barbados TODAY that he was hoping for some assistance from Government.
The two-bedroom wood and wall house the pensioner inherited from his aunt was not insured. He said that it was unlikely that help will be forthcoming from relatives due to an ongoing dispute.
“Right now, I am hoping to get some assistance from the [Parliamentary] representative [Ian Gooding-Edghill]. I can’t go at family because a lot of them were against the lady [his aunt] that was living here. So, I really prefer to live on the road until I get back a house,” he said.
There was outpouring of concern and sympathy from residents, many of whom said that the fact that Christmas was a mere two weeks away made the fire even more tragic. “This is really rough because everybody wants to be in their house at Christmas time. To lose everything now, at Christmas time, just makes the pain even more unbearable. So, I could only imagine what he [Cadogan] is going through right now,” said one resident.
“This is just sad,” another resident said. “Nobody should have to go through this at this time of year. I really hope that he could get some help to get back on his feet. No one knows why these things happen and they could happen to anybody, so we must be willing to help where we can.”
Up to news-time it was unknown what assistance had been rendered to the pensioner.