A family of five is counting their lucky stars after a huge golden apple tree fell, smashing into the roof of their Carrington Village, St Thomas house, shifting it from the foundation on Wednesday.
The tree extensively damaged the house, forcing the occupants to find alternative living arrangements. The kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom have been destroyed.
Emergency officials, including teams from the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW), a roving response team, and the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P), responded to the scene to offer the family assistance.
Owner of the house Sylvia Lowe who is visually impaired and unable to walk, told Barbados TODAY that while she was not at home when the incident occurred around 9 a.m., she was informed that her niece Shonette Boyce and her two children were there and had to escape through a window.
Speaking from her sister Sonia Henry’s Welchman Hall, St Thomas home, Lowe said she was disabled, unemployed and worried about how she would begin the extensive repairs to the wooden structure.
The 60-year-old said the house was uninsured. She said she had been living at that location for almost 40 years, and believes that the fallen tree, in addition to the many others around, have been there for a long time.
“But I give God thanks that none of them lost their life. I now have to wait for some kind of assistance because I can’t get it done on my own,” Lowe said.
Meanwhile, Henry related that Boyce told her when she heard golden apples falling on the roof, she initially thought it was monkey business.
“But then Shonette say when she started to hear all of this rushing and crashing she pick up the two of them [children] and throw them straight through the window and escaped.
“And then everything came crashing down. It destroyed the back part of the house, including the kitchen, the bathroom and a bedroom. The roof at the front of the house was also damaged. A big log landed in the middle of the bed in the back bedroom. So if anybody was in the bed they would have been either dead or seriously hurt,” Henry said.
Henry extended gratitude to Member of Parliament for the area and Minister of the Elderly and People Empowerment Cynthia Forde, who she said, got the authorities at the house quickly.
“She got the MTW to come and cut up the tree that fall and then they also trim some of the other trees in the area. Those workers came and they were there for the rest of the day helping my family. I want to thank Miss Forde, and I want to thank all the workers from those agencies that helped,” Henry said.
When contacted, Minister Forde said she has assured the family that she would do her best to get the needed support required to restore their lives to normalcy.
But at the same time, the St Thomas parliamentarian appealed to corporate Barbados to assist the family, particularly with building materials.
“The lady’s son Michael was repairing the house. He had on a solar water heater. He had almost everything in there just to make his disabled mother comfortable, and in the twinkling of an eye he lost quite a bit. Thank God he has his life and he can continue to rebuild.
“But he would need the services of the Government and other agencies like corporate Barbados to help him to put life back together for himself and his family, especially now he has a young baby to work so hard to help raise and develop,” Forde said. [email protected]