There was no response from the fire service as police and civilians battled a raging inferno in Georgetown Tuesday night that destroyed three wooden houses, leaving 11 persons homeless.
The fire broke out in a compound in the North Central Windward town where the homes of 35-year-old Bernadette Sutherland, 64-year-old Theolynda Adams, and 27-year-old Shakilia Sutherland were located.
The occupants were able to vacate the houses without injury.
The fire damaged a fourth house in the compound.
Bernadette, who lived in her house along with her children, ages 16, 5, 3 years old, told iWitness News on Wednesday that the fire started in her house.
She said she was among other persons relaxing in the home of her mother, Theolynda Adams, when somebody raised the alarm that Bernadette’s house was on fire.
“So when I went up there, I saw the fire and this child was in their sleeping,” she said, pointing at her 3-year-old son.
“And when I started to bawl out for help, the child woke and ran out and the fire took over the house,” Bernadette told iWitness News.
She said persons tried to put out the blaze but it had gone too far.
Bernadette told iWitness News that she had no idea how the fire started, adding that the two-bedroom house had an electricity connection.
After the blaze, the homeless families were taken to a centre in the town, but without any bedding or other supplies.
“So you done know the condition without any sheet or anything. Just on the bare place. We had to move out of there because it was too nasty and was so hot. We went by another friend’s place to stay for the night,” Bernadette told iWitness News.
Meanwhile, Adams noted that she lost all her possessions in the fire.
“I lose everything. I only run with one suit on my back. I could not even save anything.”
She told iWitness News that several persons were watching a movie in her house when the alarm was raised.
“I looked at the location, my daughter’s house next to me almost catch fire. From the time they started, the whole place just [caught] afire. I ran leave everything. Not even a cent I could have saved,” said the woman whose only source of income is a monthly Public Assistance payment.
Meanwhile, Shakilia Sutherland, who has children ages 11 and 3 years old declined to comment, saying that she was tired talking about the fire.
Tuesday’s blaze brings to at least five the number of houses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines destroyed by fire this month.
On March 10, Canouan resident Damarney Gordon set the wooden house of his ex-girlfriend, Abigail Franklyn on fire in the southern Grenadine island, causing it to be destroyed.
On March 18, he pleaded guilty to arson and was jailed for two years.
In a separate incident on March 13, fire destroyed the concrete home of Stephen Gaymes in Montrose, a community just outside Kingstown.
In addition to the contents of the house, two vehicles, a small pick-up and a Land Rover pick-up, were destroyed.