Nine children - five boys and four girls, including a three-month old baby and three-year-old twins - have been left homeless as fire gutted the children’s home where they lived in Calder Hall.
The Family First Foundation was destroyed by fire last Friday evening and according to Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Director, Allan Stewart, they children are currently being housed at a resident who volunteered to accommodate them at her house in Friendsfield. TEMA has made available mattresses, clothing, food items and toiletries, Stewart said.
“There were no injuries during the fire. Five boys and four girls including the caretaker of the home were affected,” said Stewart, adding that the among the children left homeless were a three-month old boy, three-year-old twins and a seven-year-old girl.
In an interview with Newsday Tobago, founder of the organisation, Merle Hercules,70, said she was grateful that no one was injured in the fire.
“I lost everything because I didn’t turn back to grab no bag or phone or anything thing else,” Hercules said.
She said she was watching TV when she heard a crackling sound and thought it was the gate of the nearby bakery being opened since it was around that that the baker delivered bread to the home.
“However, no one was there at the gate so I go up to check inside. When I checked I saw the blaze coming through the ceiling, so I just grab the baby and I ran out. At the time, only two children and I were in the house,” she said.
She commended Secretary for Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour, Marslyn Melville-Jack for immediately visiting her as news of the fire became public. She said Melville-Jack provided assistance as early as Saturday morning. She said she was also contacted by officials from the Children’s Authority, the Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ayanna Webster-Roy and has received donations of food items and clothing from the public.