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Granny, 79, dies in fire

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Tuesday, January 21 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Loving granny: WPC Natessa Alexander embraces her grandmother Anita Carr-Eli in a family photo....
Loving granny: WPC Natessa Alexander embraces her grandmother Anita Carr-Eli in a family photo....

GRANDMOTHER of eight Anita Carr-Elie, 79, who recently suffered a stroke, died in a fire which engulfed her house in San Fernando yesterday.

Nine relatives, including a policewoman, are now homeless and appealing to the authorities for assistance.

Fire officers are yet to determine the cause of the fire.

Police investigators said at about 8.30 am, residents were alerted by screams and discovered the concrete house on Navet Road on fire. They rushed to the assistance of Carr-Elie and contained the flames. However despite their effort, her charred remains were found inside a bedroom near a window.

Granddaughter WPC Natessa Alexander, who is assigned to the Marabella Police Station, recalled she was asleep in her bedroom when her father alerted her about the fire. She rushed out of the room and told neighbours to call the Mon Repos Fire Station.

Alexander and neighbours had to pour water from outside the bedroom where her grandmother was.

“My grandmother and I were very close. For the last few days she had been waking up late on mornings. Grandma was sickly and walked slowly. I last spoke to her last night (Sunday). We do not know what caused the fire. I am still in shock right now,” Alexander said yesterday. Neighbour Matthew Pierre was about to leave his house for work when children alerted him to the fire. He ran out of his house armed with blankets which he soaked in water.

“I was entering the house because I was hearing the lady bawling out from inside. But the granddaughter stopped me because the entire bedroom was engulfed in flames. We went to the back of the house and started to out the fire,” Pierre said

The neighbour said he and other residents began pouring water into the bedroom using buckets and a hose. They even broke off the head of a water tank so water could flow out faster.

“While putting out the fire, I put a cage outside the wall (of the bedroom) climbed up and the fire was blocking the window. The woman was there on fire. I got frightened and started to tremble. We out it before the fire officers came. Her remains were on the ground near the window,” Pierre said.

Relatives were overcome with grief as undertakers removed the remains of Carr-Eli. Another granddaughter, Natoya Alexander, a single mother of two, moved into the house a few weeks ago following a series of floods and domestic issues at her previous home in Pleasantville.

“I do not know where I would be staying, but by the grace of God something have to work out. The house where I was staying is not good even for animals. I applied for an HDC house and I am pleading with the authorities for help,” she said.

Neighbours offered words of comfort to the bereaved family. Sgt Marlon Bruce and Cpl Hugh Elborne visited the scene together with other officers of Mon Repos and San Fernando Police Stations. Police cordoned off the area and with officers from Mon Repos Fire Station searched for evidence.

San Fernando Mayor Kassim Hosein told reporters the community had lost a mother. He promised to contact the Inter-Religious Organisation to propose hosting a day of prayer as early as Friday.

Referring to Saturday’s fire at Mon Repos which left Steve Brown, 51, homeless, the mayor said the Disaster Preparedness Unit at the San Fernando City Corporation will contact the Fire Service to create a programme to sensitise burgesses about fire prevention measures. “We also want to work with the schools. It is a heartbreaking disaster, two fires in three days. One life lost is too many,” he said.

( See page 9A)

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