Fire leaves 5 homeless in Otaheite

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Fire ravaged a house at Otaheitie
on March 19, leaving
five members of the Rambhajan
family homeless. This is all that was left standing. – Photo courtesy Councillor Javed Mohammed

A family of five is now homeless after fire razed their Otaheite home on Tuesday morning. Ryan Rambhajan, his girlfriend Celine Deonarine, parents Dexter and Maugloutie Rambhajan, and brother, Naresh Rambhajan, escaped with their lives – but lost everything else.

“We have nothing. We were able to save nothing,” Ryan said as he appealed for help to rebuild. He said while all of the five are adults, none of them has a permanent job.

He told the Newsday that shortly after 9 am, his mother, who is a corn vendor, was in the kitchen of their home at Steve Solomon Ghany Drive, preparing boiled and roast corn for sale, when she heard a sound like glass breaking.

He said Celine and Naresh were also on the ground floor of the wooden and concrete building. Ryan explained, “We live next to a factory, so my mother thought the sound was coming from there.”

When it persisted and she smelled fire, she told Naresh to investigate. “By this time the house was already ablaze. They could not save anything except their lives.”

By the time the fire services responded, there was nothing left. “Right now, we have nothing,” said Ryan.

Councillor for Otaheite/ Rousillac Javed Mohammed visited the distressed family and offered immediate assistance.

Mohammed said through the office of Fyzabad MP Dr Lackram Bodoe and the Disaster Management Unit (DMU) at the Siparia Borough Corporation, the family was provided with mattresses and other emergency supplies. He said the family rescued two vehicles, but nothing else.

Through the kindness of a neighbor, Mohammed said the corporation is helping to equip an empty nearby structure for the Rambhajans to occupy temporarily while they try to recoup.

He said letters have been written to the Ministry of Social Development and Self-Help for assistance.

The cause is the fire is yet to be ascertained, as well as the estimated cost of damage to the structure, household, and electronic appliances.

Investigations are continuing. Anyone wishing to assist the family can contact Ryan at 345-1755.