Mechanic Derrick Nam looks on at one of the burnt-out cars in the garage he was working in when the fire started. (Photos: Naphtali Junior)
SIXTEEN people, including two children, were yesterday left homeless after fire destroyed three buildings and affected a garage on East Street on downtown Kingston.
“My whole house gone and two car that I was working on in the garage burnt out,” said mechanic Derrick Nam, who lived in the tenement yard for more than 10 years.
The 51-year-old said he heard cracking sounds and shouts and went to investigate when he saw smoke coming from downstairs of the building he resided.
“Is only a pants and shirt mi get fi save,” said the mechanic, who stated that residents were aware that the buildings were old and shaky, but that they were always cautious.
Assistant Superintendent at the York Park Fire Station Horace Thomas told the Jamaica Observer that the station got a call about 2:33 pm that that a number of buildings on East Street were on fire.
“Immediately we deployed units from Rollington Town fire stations and we [later] realised that they needed assistance and, therefore, we turned out other units from York Park, Half-Way-Tree, Stony Hill, and as far as Spanish Town, to help with the blaze,” Thomas said. He said there were no injuries or loss of lives.
The superintendent said as investigations continue he is expecting the number of occupants affected to rise.
Samantha Hibbert, a victim of the fire, who was visibly shaken, said she had to “spring into action” to save her four-year-old son, Geovani Peckoo, from their burning house.
“I was outside and saw the smoke and went in the yard and heard that my son was still inside and they couldn’t get him out because the smoke was too thick,” said Hibbert.
“No one could tell me his whereabouts], so I went inside and grab my son and run out,” she said. She said that she was traumatised after the incident.
Amputee Winston Roache said he narrowly escaped injury in the fire because he was asleep. He said he was unable to save any of his belongings from the blaze.
Meanwhile, another resident commended firefighters for their quick response.
“If it wasn’t for the fireman dem all of us would have to sleep at Salvation Army tonight (last night),” said Roache.