Residents of Kew Road, Bank Hall, St Michael are reliving the nightmarish screams of an elderly man who was trapped in his house as fire raged through the wooden structure late Monday night.
One resident who rushed to the back of 76-year-old pensioner Eric Fenty’s home recalled seeing one of his hands hanging through the window. He tried his best to pull the old man out using the dangling arm, but his efforts were not rewarded.
“I tried pulling him through, but it was like dead weight, said Fabian McDonald. “The flames and smoke and everything just gushed through the window, so I had to step back and then I realized there was nothing else that I could do,” he lamented.
McDonald was one of the first residents who rushed to the scene when he saw a fire at the rear of the house, around 11:20 p.m. He said when he ran to one side of the house he heard Fenty’s screams.
“When I looked, a couple guys were coming to help,” he added.
Despite their best efforts. Fenty could not be saved.
“Trust me, the fellas out here tried their utmost best to get in there, but they could not get in. He is not a bad person, he didn’t deserve to die the way he died. Everybody round here know Eric, they know how Eric does get on, and when you see he you would got to help he. When 5 o’clock he would come out of there on mornings. He used to walk with a stick. He would walk and go along up the road and sit down there until somebody tek he up and give he some food,” a resident said.
Hours after the fire which left the community shocked, shaken and saddened, residents gathered in front of what was left of the elderly man’s home, trying to figure out what might have started the fire which resulted in Fenty screaming for help before he took his last breath. The house was not known to have running water nor electricity.
Some residents claimed that Fenty, who has no children to their knowledge, was being abused and that this was reported to authorities, including the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
They said members of the force visited the house “more than once”.
Residents said that as recently as last Thursday, Fenty was abused in public by a man who lashed him and took away his walking stick because he had no money to give him.
“Sometimes you would want to try to help, but then you can’t go and put yourself up front there to then end up putting yourself at risk. That was total abuse,” a resident told Barbados TODAY.
He charged that the alleged abuser took advantage of Fenty, often relieving him of his pension monies.
“He is a disgusting, despicable man, I would like the police to find he. He used to beat the old man and take way his pension and all kind of foolishness. Only Sunday the police went looking for he. I tell them, them ain’t gine find he. Got to catch he 2:30 a morning. They went back yesterday evening, but them ain’t gine find him in the daytime so,” a concerned resident said.
Another resident who said he assisted Fenty however he possibly could, especially when he was hospitalized after suffering a stroke, noted he once asked the elderly man about the alleged abuse but he did not want to talk about it.
Yet another resident who said he was finding it hard to get the memory of the house engulfed in flames out of his head, lamented: “The man was sitting down at a house here and he [alleged abuser] come and start to feel up his pocket to see if he had money on him. He throw a lash around the man head, and lick him down, and take up the cane he does walk with and go long with it. A lot of people see what happened . . .,” a male resident said as he spoke about the recent incident.
The same resident who said they found out about the fire after hearing a commotion at Fenty’s home, said that the young men from the area tried almost everything possible to get the old man out of the blaze.
“Everybody was coming out and tried to assist. But by that time everything else was in flames and you could see the results. I tried to help and run on basic instincts. There are a lot of things that you could think about. Like if I could have done this, or if I could have done that, but everything does happen so fast. Your basic instinct does be kicking in like, if I go in if I gine perish in it,” McDonald shared.
Damion Jordan also expressed regrets that his efforts to help get the old man out of the house before it was too late, were unsuccessful. He said he even used a shovel to try to gain entry to the wooden structure.
“He used to make a lot of sport and thing. Man he ain’t deserve to go so at all,” Jordan said.