Fire guts building at St Jude’s Home for Girls

The section of St Jude's Home for Girls which was destroyed by fire on Saturday.  -
The section of St Jude's Home for Girls which was destroyed by fire on Saturday. -

A fire destroyed the second floor of a building at the St Jude's Home for Girls, Belmont on Saturday afternoon.

According to reports, a resident at the home alerted the caregiver that smoke was coming from the roof of the building after 3.45 pm.

The Fire Service was alerted. Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristo, along with a group of officers, from the Wrightson Road headquarters responded to extinguish the blaze.

Two girls had to be taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital after suffering panic attacks. However, there were no serious injuries, fire officials said.

An investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Fire Service Association president Leo Ramkissoon told Newsday the Belmont Fire Station officer were unable to respond because that station does not have a fire tender.

“I haven’t got the full extent of the damages as yet but if I am to voice the feelings of the officers as well as myself, it’s a deep sense of frustration because when these emergencies arise we as officers want to do our jobs which is to save and protect property from damage or destruction. Without a truck there is little we can do, without equipment there is very little we can do.

“It creates a very psychological burden on the officers and we are frustrated in these circumstances and we are begging and pleading for the government to do what it can to bring relief by providing us with all we need to serve the public so we can save a life and protect property."

Several fire stations across the country do not have equipment to respond to emergencies and the government has invested $30m to buy new equipment in the coming months.

A government release on Saturday night said the manager of the St Judes contacted the Gender and Child Affairs Division around 4.30 pm to report the roof of one of the buildings on the compound was on fire.

Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy, officers from the Children's Authority, the police, the Port of Spain City Corporation and other officials were on the scene.

"There were no injuries to residents or staff. The fire did not spread to other areas of the facility," the release said.

Webster Roy commend the first responders, members of staff at St Judes and other officials "for their professionalism and support in bringing the situation to some level of normalcy."


"Fire guts building at St Jude’s Home for Girls"

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