Firefighter Paul Smart is afraid that his house, located in Ottley Hall, might collapse. (IWN photo)

A 25-year veteran of the Police Force is seeking the assistance of the government to repair his house, which he fears might collapse.

Paul Smart, a sergeant of police attached to Fire Department, built the concrete house in Ottley Hall in 2002 on lands he bought from the Development Corporation.

A retaining wall at the lower end of the property collapsed in 2004 and Smart said he is yet to received assistance promised by state agencies.

Parts of the concrete roof of the house have been cracking off. (IWN photo)
Parts of the concrete roof of the house have been cracking off. (IWN photo)

But after the earthquake in 2007, the house began to exhibit signs of structural failure, seemingly exacerbated because of poor construction.

Chunks of the underside of the concrete roof have begun to crack off, exposing the rusting steel reinforcement.

The firefighter told I-Witness News that this past week he was almost struck in the face by a piece of falling concrete.

“I have a mortgage paying and it is very hard for me to do my repairs on my own,” he said.

“… in 2007 when we had the earthquake, my house was shaken, and after the earthquake, I discovered some strange things happening to the house, wherein I saw cracks, and the cracks began expanding more and things keep bursting through the concrete,” he told I-Witness News.

“Right now, I am scared to live in here,” he said. “I am not looking for gold or silver from the authorities but I need some assistance.”

Smart said builders told him that the house might have shifted during the earthquake.

But he said that poor construction is also part of the problem.

“I do believe that some poor work was done on my house, but it is very sad that the person who built my house has passed on — died. And this is getting to me. It is very ridiculous and I cannot wait any longer, because up to last night, … a piece of debris fell and just missed my face. Had that caught me in my head, probably I would have been knocked out,” said Smart, who lives alone.

He said the roof is also caving in.

“Who knows, the next shower of rain comes what would happen. I have lost my computer; I’ve lost dining room set; I’ve lost a lot of clothing. A lot of things have been destroyed,” he said.

Smart said he is looking for “relocation or whatever they can do to assist me”.

Firefighter Sergeant Paul Smart. (IWN photo)
Firefighter Sergeant Paul Smart. (IWN photo)

Smart agrees that the problem is not the fault of the authorities.

“But I believe I am not the first and the last person who have gotten damaged and need some assistance. I believe that some poor work was done, but nevertheless, where help is concerned, help should be given at any time,” he said.

And while the house is in need to urgent repair, Smart still had more than EC$100,000 remaining on his EC$160,000 mortgage.

He said that an assessor from the Ministry of Housing is said to have visited, but he was not at home at the time.

“My concern is my personal health and protection. You never know. I might be sleeping at night and something happen – this (roof) drop in (collapses) on me.”

Smart said he submitted an estimate for the repairs to the Office of the Prime Minister last year and a secretary there said that he would not be able to get all he asked for.

“I said no problem. I’m just asking for assistance. Whatever I get I will be satisfied. But up to now, nothing has come through so far,” he said.

3 replies on “Fireman fears his house will collapse”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    1. I strongly disagree with the PM’s assertion that “housing” is a basic human right. But if it is, this is the kind of dependency on Big Brother you get from able-bodied working people. We have become a society of hopeless beggars from top to bottom.

    2. Why didn’t this working man buy house insurance which would have covered such damges? Again, he must have known in the back of his mind that the State would always come to his rescue. Don’t plan for the future, don’t prepare for disaster, because the Comrade is always there to help you.

    3. Since so many people in SVG are in need of all sorts of help and since government resources are overstrained as it is, if this man gets help, it has to come at other people’s expense, including people who don’t even have a house of their own.

    4. Yes, call me a cold-hearted, selfish sob if you want, but we are in deep and growing trouble because so many of us are so quick to look to the government to solve all our problems. This is a sign of a society headed for failure Greek-style.

    1. I agree with almost everything you said here, except your belief that “housing” is not a basic human right. I strongly believe that all humans have a right to shelter, whether it is provided by the state or through their own means. In that, I also believe that every able bodied individual should be responsible for their own shelter as well as the shelter of dependent children. The state should find a way to provide for those individual who are unable to provide it for themselves because of impairment (physical, cognitive, mental, developmental).

      You are not cold hearted, you are just practical.

  2. Please help the brother who has given 25 years of service to his country.
    Nothing more to be said.

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