Curepe fire leaves 14 homeless

A Ja­maican na­tion­al and three Cubans are among 14 ten­ants left home­less af­ter fire gut­ted their apart­ment com­plex in Curepe on Mon­day evening.

One of the af­fect­ed ten­ants, pen­sion­er Jen­nifer Cock­burn, 66, told Guardian Me­dia at about 4.30 pm she was sit­ting in her ve­ran­dah lo­cat­ed down­stairs in the split lev­el build­ing when she heard a sound com­ing from an apart­ment above her.


I hear 'puff', then I smell smoke then I hear peo­ple shout­ing, 'Fire, fire,' so I ran out­side on the road," she said

Cock­burn said the fe­male ten­ant who oc­cu­pied the apart­ment where the fire was be­lieved to have start­ed suf­fered a mi­nor burn on one of her hands as she tried to es­cape.

Own­ers of the build­ing, Farhad and Tara Mo­hammed, told the Guardian Me­dia the fire reignit­ed two times and they felt strong­ly that the re­spond­ing fire of­fi­cers did not do their jobs prop­er­ly the first time they re­spond­ed to the blaze.

"When they came they man­aged to con­tain the blaze in the two rooms then strange­ly be­fore they left, they gave us the clear­ance to go back in­to the build­ing," Tara Mo­hammed said.

"When we went up­stairs to check to see, the fire had reignit­ed and some of the ten­ants who were with us shout­ed, 'F!'ire and we ran out. The fire ser­vice was called in again but they took over 30 min­utes be­fore they ar­rived . . . by that time the en­tire up­stairs was en­gulfed in flames. If they had made sure the first time and checked all the rooms this would not have hap­pened. The sec­ond time when they came they stayed long and then they put up cau­tion tape be­fore they left."

She added that a neigh­bour told her the fire again reignit­ed at about 3 am. Fire Ser­vices came for the third time and ex­tin­guished the blaze.

Up to 9.30 am, Fire Pre­ven­tion Of­fi­cers were yet to vis­it the scene and car­ry out in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine the cause of the blaze.

The build­ing is es­ti­mat­ed to be val­ued at $4 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the own­ers.

- Story and photo by Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant.

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