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Two houses lost to fire


RYAN GILKES

Two houses lost to fire

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Two St Philip families lost their homes Friday afternoon after a fire at Gully Road, Rices.

The blaze started around 1 p.m. and destroyed the house Casper Clarke occupied with his wife Maria, daughters Tonia and Tameshia and granddaughter Khiyia. It also ravaged the family’s business, 3Ts Bar & Grill, a Friday night liming spot.

“We just heard a noise, an explosion, and then when you checked, everything was in flames,” a shaken Maria told THE NATION.

“You could not go through the house because the heat was very intense, so everything just went up . . .  The gas tanks – we have two big ones below the house and two small cylinders – they just exploded and the whole house . . . up in flames.”

Maria added that no one could get to the fire extinguisher, which was kept in the kitchen, because of the heat.

She said they had lived at that address for 26 years and the business had been in operation for 20.

“Tonight we will be staying with a neighbour across the road, but it is to get back a building and a home. We are definitely going to need some help with that. Since the CLICO issue, everything went downhill and that was it,” Maria said, adding the property was not insured.

The blaze also affected a neighbouring house, owned by 67-year-old Merlene Austin, who lived with her daughter Malisa and grand-daughter Malia, having moved there in 2012.

Merlene said she had just finished eating and had dozed off.

“It could have only been about 15 minutes . . .  I smelt smoke, so I jumped up and ran through the house checking, yuh know. I didn’t see anything burning in the house but by the time I got out the house that house [next door] was in flames,” she recalled. 

“People were screaming, all the glass was cracking . . .  I couldn’t go back into the house. The young men from the neighbourhood . . . pulled out what they could get out the house, but all my clothes, my glasses and all my documents got burnt up . . . But it is insured – that is who I here waiting on,” Merlene said, adding that she would be spending the night with relatives. (ROG)

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