The suspect’s house, and a neighbour’s house next door, were located at lower Plaisance Terrace, which is downhill of Cook Street. A third house was damaged by water as firemen put out the blaze that threatened to spread. Residents said they heard a loud explosion, at about 9 am yesterday, followed by gunshots. Shortly after the murder suspect’s house was on fire. Fanned by a strong breeze, residents said the flames spread quickly to a second house owned by Andrew and Marva Hovell, and was close to razing a third house owned by the Sankar family. However, residents said the quick response of the police and fire officials prevented the blaze from reaching any further.
“I was just home watching TV when I hear something loud go off, and I feel the house shake slightly. Before I have chance to react I see my roof on fire. All I could do is grab my phone, because by the time I ran out I see parts of my wall start to cave in. We didn’t get the chance to save anything,” said Marva Hovell, one of the residents who was displaced by the blaze. Hovell, with teary eyes, said she and her family of seven were a “casualty of (the) circumstance (of) living in Laventille.”
Hovell said her family had lost everything and she was concerned about where they would be spending the next few nights.
“People here working hard to make a living and yet people come out of the blue and reckless with they self and their actions. We didn’t do anybody anything, so why we have to suffer? Where will my children rest their heads? This isn’t right,” Hovell said.
Her distraught husband did not say much except to repeat, “Fox have hole, birds have nest but the son of man have no place to rest.”
Although the home of Marmin Sankar and her two daughters Rhondor and Rhea was saved by the fire officers, they were not spared the anguish. Rhondor said as soon as the family had heard about the arrest of the suspect on Wednesday, they prepared themselves for a fiery retaliation.
“We had our hose and everything ready since the night before. We thought they were coming with something like pitch oil, something we could have controlled but instead it’s like high-end explosives they use because that fire spread so fast,” Sankar said.
She added as soon as her family heard the explosion they began to wet the roof of their house. They even attempted to douse the flames on the other houses, but they were stopped by Besson Street police officers who ordered them to evacuate.
For over an hour, the Sankar family waited anxiously and were relieved when fire officials advised them their house was only scorched and sustained water damage.
Divisional Fire Officer Eugene Serville, of the Northern Fire Service Division, confirmed the minor damage to the Sankar family’s house and that two houses were destroyed.
“Appliances from both the Belmont Fire Station and the Wrightson Road Fire Station were sent in to contain the blaze, and so far there have been no reports of casualties,” Serville said.
He could not say what caused the fire as investigations were ongoing.