Cedros family homeless after fire

Yet another family from Cedros has lost their home to a fire, bringing to four the number of families left homeless in fires over the past year.

With seven massive fires recorded in the peninsula since the start of the new year, residents say they will have no other choice but to mobilize a team to petition the government to put a fire appliance at the Cedros Security Complex.

It's been more than seven years since they have been calling for a fire station to be built in Cedros but in 2015, the plans were shelved. Instead, the government promised to rebuild the Point Fortin Fire Station.

During an interview on Friday, fire victim Karel Rajkumar said it took firefighters took more than an hour to reach to their burning home at Bamboo Village, Cedros.

By then the flames were out of control and everything they owned was consumed by the fire.

Recalling the tragedy, Rajkumar said she was cooking and washing when the flames started.

"I was outside and I heard a loud sound like gas escaping from a hose. Then the whole house went up in flames," she said. Her mother Sylvia Rajkumar was also outside and their screams for help alerted neighbours. Rajkumar said they quickly formed a bucket and hose brigade but the fire was too high.

"When the fire officers came it was too late. My mother could not stop crying. She is old and suffering from cataract," Rajkumar said. She explained that her brother took Sylvia away to Icacos.

"I will be staying with my friend and my mother will be in Icacos. We do not know how we will rebuild the house. I am not working because I have to care for my sick mother. We survive on her disability grant," Karel said.

Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said the Disaster Management Unit of the Siparia Regional Corporation received no funding from government and could offer no assistance to the family.

"I had to buy a mattress for them from my own pocket. We want the government to send a fire appliance at the Cedros Complex because many homes and estates have been razed by fires for this year," Teelucksingh said.

Last month during a tour Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young promised that Point Fortin will get a new fire sta­tion but no date was giv­en for the start of the project. In 2016, MP for Point Fortin Edmund Dil­lon promised that a new fire sta­tion would have be­gun in 2017 at a cost of $11 mil­li­on. In 2017, the con­di­tions wors­ened and the Oc­cu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Au­thor­i­ty (OS­HA) shut down the build­ing, deem­ing it un­safe. Since then officers have been working from a dilapidated bungalow at Clifton Hill.

Anyone wanting to assist the family can call Karel at 388-7218.

by Radhica De Silva

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