Scratch bomb fire leaves nine homeless

Scratch bomb and fire­works play for chil­dren in the Mc Bean, Cou­va com­mu­ni­ty on Di­vali night end­ed up in tragedy for three fam­i­lies af­ter two of their hous­es burst in­to flames de­stroy­ing every­thing.

Nine peo­ple are now home­less, in­clud­ing four chil­dren – a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old.

The vic­tims are Michael Ram­per­sad, 61, his sons Roger, 37 and Jim­my, 36; Jim­my’s wife Videya Lal­la, 34 and their four chil­dren ages sev­en, 10, 12 and 13 and Lal­la’s broth­er Dar­ly Ram­narace.

The in­ci­dent took place at Baksh Set­tle­ment Ex­ten­sion 1, off De­onar­ine Junc­tion.

Speak­ing with the T&T Guardian af­ter the in­ci­dent, a dis­traught Jim­my said that at about 6.45 pm he was at home with one of his sons when neigh­bours called out to him say­ing his fa­ther’s up­hol­stery work­shop was on fire.

“With­in min­utes even though I tried to throw wa­ter, the fire quick­ly spread and burnt every­thing to the ground. The two hous­es com­plete­ly de­stroyed and every­thing with it. I re­al­ly couldn’t save any­thing,” Jim­my said.

He said there were lots of chil­dren in the area play­ing with scratch bombs and fire­works and it is be­lieved that one of them threw a scratch bomb and it land­ed in his fa­ther’s work­shop and when it burst the flames caught the ma­te­r­i­al on fire. He said there were a lot of com­bustible items in the work­shop, in­clud­ing chem­i­cals and glue, which he be­lieves fed the flames.

“My fa­ther lived here for all his life. We all grew up here. He worked from here and earned his liv­ing, now every­thing has gone up in flames,” Jim­my said.

Jim­my’s wife Videya said this in­ci­dent was a dou­ble wham­my for her, as she lost a cousin in an ac­ci­dent in Clax­ton Bay on Mon­day morn­ing.

“Be­cause of the death in the fam­i­ly we could not have cel­e­brat­ed Di­vali, but my hus­band still lit one deya in the liv­ing room and I was just picked up to go tem­ple and not even five min­utes af­ter I left home my son called me to say the house on fire.”

Videya said just in Jan­u­ary this year she and her hus­band had built their home and moved in there and had bought every­thing new and on hire pur­chase.

“Every­thing gone… every­thing burnt … we have noth­ing…all my chil­dren’s school uni­forms and books, clothes – every sin­gle thing de­stroyed,” the dis­traught moth­er added.

Her old­est daugh­ter is a pupil of the Cara­pichaima East Sec­ondary School, while the oth­er three are pupils of the Mc Bean Hin­du Pri­ma­ry School.

The fire vic­tims all slept at a friend’s house overnight and are now seek­ing help. Any­one wish­ing to help the fam­i­ly can call them at 318-4527, 487-2999 and/or 369-2319.

Cou­va South MP Rudy In­dars­ingh vis­it­ed the fam­i­ly soon af­ter the fire and con­tact­ed the Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Unit at the Cou­va/Tabaquite/Tal­paro Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion in an at­tempt to get as­sis­tance for them. Coun­cil­lor Al­lan Seep­er­sad al­so vis­it­ed the fam­i­ly.

Fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cers are ex­pect­ed to re­turn to the scene to­day to car­ry out fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

- by Rhondor Dowlat

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