New Grant man, son, 8, homeless after fire

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Joel Smith, left, holds his son N’Kia while his cousin Gabriel Cooper looks on at the ruins of Smith’s home at Hindustan Junction Road, New Grant. Smith’s home was destroyed by fire on Saturday night. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

A fire on Saturday night in New Grant has left a 30-year-old single father and his eight-year-old son homeless.

Homeless are Joel Smith and his son N’kia Smith, a second-year pupil of the North Trace Government Primary School.

The two-room wooden structure and everything in it were destroyed within minutes on Saturday at around 7 pm. No one was in the house at the time.

On Sunday, as he looked at the ruins of his home, which had no electricity, Smith pleaded with the public to help him buy materials to rebuild.

On the brink of tears, Smith said: “Anything I get, I would take. I need everything, so if anyone can help us, I would appreciate it. My son lost his school books, uniform, clothes, everything.”

Smith had been living in the structure since his son was one year old.

Smith added he does not have a stable job and does odd jobs to make ends meet. On Saturday, he was returning home from doing electrical work on a house in Gasparillo when one of his neighbours alerted him about the fire.

Together, he and the neighbour began throwing buckets of water to try to put out the blaze. The fire was too much, and the house was destroyed before Princes Town fire officers arrived.

He said he did not leave a lamp or candle lighting and believed someone might have deliberately set the house on fire.

Asked about the possible reasons for someone doing it, Smith said it was due to wickedness.

“I do not fight, give trouble or tell people anything. I do not have regular work, but I am always looking for work. I have been living here for the past seven years taking care of my son. I thank my neighbour for all her help. She always looks out for us,” he said.

He does not have a cell phone but he can be reached via his neighbour at 339-6075.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Investigations are ongoing.