A fire tore through a house in Festival City early yesterday morning leaving its three occupants without a home.
The fire reportedly originated in a bedroom on the bottom flat of the two-storey house. Eyewitnesses say that it quickly spread from the wooden bottom flat where the family of three resided to the unoccupied top wooden flat, which was eventually destroyed.
Twenty-four-year-old Alicia Bernard, who stayed in the bottom flat with her child’s father, Randy Gentle, 24, and her son, was at home with her son when the fire started. The woman explained that she was sitting on her front steps with her son at around 9:15am when she noticed smoke rising from the back of the house.
Bernard said that as she entered her front door she was greeted by a large burst of flames coming from her bedroom. At this point she quickly vacated the premises with her young son. Within minutes the entire house was engulfed in flames.
The woman speculated that the blaze had started on a mattress in her bottom flat apartment, but was unsure what ignited it since she said nothing had been left burning. Bernard was adamant that no candles, lamps or mosquito coils were left burning in the room. She also said that the residence was at the time not receiving any electricity.
Residents say that Bernard fainted while lamenting her house being on fire. The woman was taken to the hospital and later brought back to what used to be her home. By the time she had returned to the place she had called home for some time it was no more.
One resident said that efforts to form a bucket brigade to engage the fire were rendered futile as the heat emanating from the blaze made getting close impossible. Another resident, who reportedly called the fire service, said that the call was made almost immediately after the fire was spotted (9:15am), and that the Fire Service arrived at the scene at around 9:25am.
By this time, most of the building’s wooden parts had been completed gutted.
The woman said that most, if not all of her possessions, including important documents and clothing had been destroyed in the fire.
Bernard said that all of the clothes she had accumulated for her unborn child had been destroyed. She said that the only things that were not destroyed were her son’s games clothes which were on a line drying. She is currently staying with her sister, who resides just next door to the destroyed building, until she is once again able to stand on her own.