In what villagers described as a bizarre incident, a pregnant woman has been left homeless after a fire believed to be caused by lightning destroyed her family’s home at Rio Claro.
Kavita Boodoo, 27, who lives at Oilfield Road in Union Village, is expected to have a caesarean section at the Sangre Grande Hospital next Wednesday.
She, her husband, Ashton Flores, and their two children, ten and nine, lost everything in the blaze, including a bag packed with baby items in preparation for the delivery.
Boodoo’s uncle Devanand Maharaj, who lived on the top floor of the two storey-house, is also homeless.
Flores is a construction worker and Boodoo a housewife.
Villagers reported that at about 10.30 am on Tuesday during a series of lightning strikes, one hit an electricity line connected to the house.
Boodoo’s sister Judy Boodoo-Rattan said: “A villager said the lightning struck the electricity wire and he saw the flames run to the house. We had plenty of lightning and thunder this morning.
"No one was home. Kavita went to clinic and Devanand was also at (another) clinic at the hospital. He has kidney and heart problems.”
The children were at school when the fire happened.
Boodoo-Rattan told Newsday Rio Claro fire officers responded promptly but the house was already destroyed by the time they arrived.
“It was a rapid response, but everything happened very fast. They lost everything. Workers from T&TEC (TT Electricity Commission) and the corporation were here earlier on.”
Councillor for the area Shaffick Mohammed and chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation Glenn Ram visited. Mohammed said the Disaster Management Unit’s field officers also met with the homeless family. The unit distributed mattresses and other relief items to the family.
A senior fire officer told Newsday that a bolt of lightning causing a house fire is a rare occurrence, and the cause of the fire is yet to be determined.