Neighbours help save Mineral Heights house from being razed

Observer writer

Friday, June 15, 2018

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Fourteen-year-old Dushane Slowly, with tears in his eyes, bowed his head as neighbours yesterday rushed to save his family house on Uranium Way in Mineral Heights, Clarendon, from complete destruction by fire.

The blaze, which started around 2:30 pm, caused extensive damage to half of the two-bedroom house, including the living room and kitchen.

Slowly, who was alerted to the fire by his four-year-old brother, said he believed it was caused by a short circuit in the television power cable.

“When mi come deh suh a di TV deh pon fire,” he told the Jamaica Observer, pointing to the spot occupied by the television. “Mi feel bad, because every one a mi something dem bun up. If mi likkle brother never deh deh mi woulda dead.”

After the fire started, residents moved quickly to help Slowly and his siblings.

“Mi a come from down the road and see di fire, suh mi just get involved and try get a hose and put some water pon it fi cool it down,” Michael Bell, told the Observer, pointing out that he got the hose from a premises across the street.

“We were able to contain the fire to a degree because we spray some water on the bedroom door so that the fire nuh spread further guh inside,” Bell added.

“As a person inna di community, it's a community duty. Yuh have to help when you see things like this, because this is a situation weh dem need help,” he said.

Keeble Perkins, who lives in the nearby community of Rhules Pen, said he noticed the fire as he was walking to a shop and quickly pitched in to help.

“When I saw the crowd running down here to look at the fire, I take part in rendering some assistance to extinguish the fire,” Perkins said.

Camara Elliot, a friend of Slowly's family, expressed sorrow at the tragedy. “This area is just burn-prone, because last year it was this house,” she said, pointing to a house across the street from the location of the fire.

Elliot said she was going for her daughter outside her house when she heard a passer-by screaming that the house was on fire.

“I run down now and start to call for assistance and other persons started to come... I just got the youngest one and sent him up by my house,” she added.

At the time of the fire Slowly's mother was reportedtly at work, while his sibling who attends Mineral Heights Primary was in school. Slowly and his three brothers who were at home did not suffer any injuries.

About 25 minutes after the fire started firefighters arrived on the scene to extinguish what was left of the blaze. Up to the time they left the scene, the cause of the fire was yet to be determined.

Slowly's uncle, Leighton Currier, who arrived after the fire was extinguished, told the Observer, with tears in his eyes, “This shake me up.” He said due to extent of the damage the family would most likely have to stay at his house.

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