Two fires same story: children were playing with lighters

By Alexis Milan
Staff Reporter

Two houses in two separate areas burned down Thursday morning and reports indicate that both fires were caused by unsupervised children who were playing with lighters.
One of the fires occurred on Berkely Street and the other was in the Conch Shell Bay area.

A total of seven persons have been displaced, as two out of three affected structures were completely destroyed.

According to National Fire Service’s Orin Smith, the fire department first responded to the fire at #2 Conch Shell Bay and met smoke coming from a small wooden structure. The occupants had already extinguished the fire.

During their investigation the fire department learned that a minor, who was playing with a lighter, lit a mattress on fire and was responsible for that fire.
Just a short time after that, around 10:00 a.m. the fire department, again, responded to another fire at #25 Berkely Street.

In almost identical fashion, the fire at this address was started when a six-year-old boy who was playing with a lighter lit a mattress on fire and caused the upper flat of the two-story structure to be destroyed in a raging blaze.

When the fire trucks arrived the structure had already been destroyed and another structure in front of it, which was located on Plues Street, had started to catch fire but the department prevented the flames from spreading.

According to Smith, the Berkely Street fire is the fourth fire in the month of July alone in which an unsupervised minor playing with a fire tool has caused a structure to burn.

“If tools such as matches, lighters and lighted candles are left in easy reach of children they will play with these things, they don’t understand danger. The occupants, the elders in the homes, parents and guardians, it is their responsibility to educate the children on the dangers of playing with these tools,” Smith cautioned.
Smith also indicated that the fire trucks had some delay in reaching the fire on Berkely Street due to works being conducted on Basra and George Streets.

Smith also urged homeowners to purchase a fire detector for early warning. According to Smith, the detectors cost about $25 and may save your home and possessions from destruction.

Jenisee Ramirez, an occupant of the Berkely Street home, said she was at work while her two children, ages six and four, stayed home with a babysitter.
Ramirez said she was surprised when she received a phone call that her home was on fire.

Ramirez said that her four-year-old child told her the babysitter left and his older brother lit a paper on fire in the bedroom and when he let it go the fire spread to the mattress.

According to Ramirez, her children ran downstairs and told the neighbour about the fire.

Ramirez said that anyone interested in offering assistance could reach her at 601-9339.

According to 75-year-old Merlene Andrews, the occupant of the lower flat on Berkely Street, the babysitter wasn’t even at the lane yet when the infant ran down and told them his brother had lit the house on fire.

Andrews said she lost everything in the fire and if a neighbour didn’t help her, she wouldn’t have made it out of the burning structure.

Comments are closed.