FOUR months after a fire in Moruga left 11 people homeless and the family's pet rabbit — Sparkle — dead, relatives are asking for help to clear the debris so they can start to rebuild.
"There have been a lot of setbacks. We need either a backhoe or an excavator to clear the place. Some people promised to help us as soon as the huge amount of rubble is removed," said one of the victims, Pat McIntyre-Prince.
On March 26, at about 7.30 pm, the fire broke out on the ground floor of the two-storey house at Richardson Street, Happy Hill in Basse Terre Village, Moruga. A seven-year-old girl later tearfully told relatives she accidentally started the fire while playing with matches.
The six adults and five children, between the ages of two and 12, have been staying by friends and other relatives. McIntyre-Prince told Sunday Newsday that officials from the Princes Town Regional Corporation sent a backhoe, but the operator was unable to clear the debris.
Instead, he said, an excavator was more suitable for the job.
McIntyre-Prince said: "We have been checking around for one but everywhere it is the same story — it costs a lot and we must pay by the hour. The corporation has one but the last thing they said was due to a broken windscreen they cannot do anything with it unless it is changed. People who know about construction say a backhoe could work."
McIntyre-Prince is the cemetery keeper for the Blas Cha Cha Trace public cemetery. All internment records, some dating back to the 1940s, were destroyed. She and her 22-year-old daughter, a student of the University of the Southern Caribbean, were upstairs when the floorboards became heated. They went downstairs to see what was happening and realised the house was on fire.
The fire spread so quickly and things started exploding that relatives and residents looked on helplessly as the house was destroyed.
"We have been trying to get things done on our own, but things are not working out just yet. People are willing to contribute but we need to clear here first before anything could happen," McIntyre-Prince said.
Anyone willing to help can contact Newsday's south office at 607-4929.