By Anesta Henry
A fire, which occurred in The City last night, has severely affected an elderly couple, and disrupted the business of a hairdresser.
Residents at King William Street, just off Nelson Street, told Barbados TODAY that it was just after 9 p.m. when the blaze started at an uninsured house wooden, which was destroyed.
The second house, owned by 84-year-old Rudolph Hinds and his 76-year-old wife Merina Hinds, was extensively damaged.
And the third house, to which a hair salon is attached, also received extensive damage.
When Barbados TODAY visited the scene, a hurting Leandra Chase lamented that she would now have to work wonders to get her business, Miracle The Salon, functioning again.
She recalled that she had just started a client’s hair when she saw a bright orange light that she initially thought was a Christmas light. However, Chase said she started to smell smoke and decided to go to the door to further investigate what was happening when she discovered that the house nestled between her salon and the insured home of the elderly couple, was on fire.
“Within four minutes it was out of control,” she said.
“My next step was to get my client out of the salon, and my neighbor that was sitting with me. Then I tried to get other people to come to see if they could put water on the top of the salon. Everybody was just panicking. I literally just renovated, and remodeled the salon. I am literally still paying my loan for it and everything,” Chase disclosed.
The hairdresser said what saddened her most was that she had made multiple attempts to get the salon insured, but was denied, on the grounds that that the houses in the community were too close.
“I want to say I feel angry, but at this present moment I am not even worried because I know God is in control. But it is sad for me because me and my best friend literally got on our knees and grout the salon ourselves. I literally put sweat into that salon to get it to where I want it. I know everything inside basically got water damages, the ceiling and everything. It is just now for me to really calculate the true damage, and then try to rebuild,” Chase said.
The hairdresser told Barbados TODAY she was fully booked for the season, with not a space left in her diary. She however assured that she would do everything possible to restore her business.
“Miracles will be happening and it will get back up. It is there for a reason because it literally saved our house. If not for that being a wall, our house would have been gone too. That is how fast and how wild that fire was. So it was there for a reason and it’s gonna come back up. I believe God will help me,” she said.
Up to midnight Chase, with very limited light, was trying to assess the damage to her equipment in the salon. .
Meanwhile, the distraught elderly couple was sitting in a neighbour’s gallery, struggling to come to grips with the fact that their house was burnt a the second time.
Merina who said that they would be sleeping at a son’s home until other arrangements are made, revealed that another house was destroyed by fire on that same spot, in 1985.
Calling on God’s grace and help, the old lady who was propping on a chair, recalled that she was preparing to join her husband who is blind and ailing, in bed when she heard a loud noise coming from next door.
“When I went and look, I see the fire. I tried to get him out the house; two fellas came and help me. You know that is the second time that house burn down. The guy that living there now, his grandfather was living there first. I remember It was a foreday morning in 1985 when I woke up and see his grandfather’s house on fire and then my house start to catch. Then the government built back a house there for them, and then the grandfather died, and well, the grandson living there now,” Merina said, as she thanked God that she had not gone to bed at the time the fire started.
The husband, who was visibly shaken and upset, lamented that the fire should not have taken place.
“My wife work so hard up to this evening putting up lights, and cleaning and doing things, and this happen,” Rudolph said.
Member of Parliament for The City Colonel Lieutenant Jeffrey Bostic who was at the scene told Barbados TODAY that his first priority was to ensure that those who have been displaced as a result of the fire are taken care of.
Bostic said that later this morning, he would be looking into what assistance can be rendered from relevant government agencies to those affected.
The Member of Parliament said he was concerned that the salon owner was denied insurance for her property because of the close proximity of the structures in the City.
“This is something that is common to The City. It is not easy to obtain insurance and they have suffered significant loss here. This is really a serious matter. Then we have to look at uninhabitable houses in Bridgetown where people occupy and then create some problems for the residents. So this is something that we have to address,” Bostic said.
Some residents publicly said that they were suspicious about how the fire started.
Three fire tenders, 11 fire officers and two sub-officers battled the blaze.
Police are continuing investigations.