The community of Georges Hill, located between St John and Croft’s Hill in Clarendon, woke up this morning to scenes of fiery destruction.
An 83-year-old resident of the rural community, Alvin Seville, better known as Pitata, perished in a fire that engulfed the two-apartment concerte house where he lived alone.
The late farmer, only two Saturdays ago, travelled to Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in Kingston to bury one of his favourite daughters, Dianne Seville, who was murdered recently outside Clarendon.
The murder weighed heavily on Pitata, especially considering that the daughter who was killed usually ensured that his medical and other needs were met.
He now has four children alive.
One of the daughters, Verna Seville, was a picture of grief when she arrived at the scene in Georges Hill this morning. She explained that her father was unhappy about his daughter not being buried at his residence, and so he started to ‘use one cigarette to light the next’.
Other relatives and neighbours also reported that Pitata seemingly had a premonition of his death, and was telling people that he felt as though his demise was near.
An elderly woman, Lucille Palmer, who lives a hibiscus fence apart from the late Pitata, told The Beacon that she heard a short cry coming from Pitata’s house minutes before 5 o’clock this morning.
She added that, after seeing the house on fire, she shouted for help and ran to a shop, then to a neighbouring community known as Pantry, where she informed Pitata’s relatives about the blaze.
“Pitata was a good man – a kind man who give a lot of jokes,” said Palmer, who sat beneath a mango tree and stared at the burnt house and the swelling crowds in disbelief.
She, for years, had volunteered as one of Pitata’s caregivers. However, on this fateful day, she could have done nothing to save him.
When the smoke cleared, Pitata’s charred remains were found lying on the back among the bedroom rubble.
His intestine and legs were gone, leaving only the bone structure of his upper body in tact.
Pitata died holding an enamel mug – a sign that he was either drinking something or trying to put out the blaze at the time death struck.
A building block lay in the place where his legs would have been, had they not been missing or burnt beyond recognition.
Relatives, who knew the bedroom well, noted that the remains were not found where Pitata’s bed was located.
“I feel very upset about it,” Delroy Seville – son of the deceased, declared while he broke his daze.
“I couldn’t get to come here yesterday morning, but I visit my father very regular. This nuh look like a lamp burn it down; this look funny to mi,” he said.
Delroy added that his father, who did not have electricity, had stopped using candles, and had resorted to using a lamp.
The cause of the blaze, however, is to be determined by the police and fire personnel – both of whom visited the scene before Pitata’s remains were removed in scorching afternoon sunshine.
A resident, who gave her name as Minzie, told The Beacon that she, up to recently, told the late Pitata to turn his life over to his maker.
“Pitata was a quiet person – to me. I always encouraged him to give his life to the Lord,” she said while trying to comfort one of her church sisters – Avenella Sterling.
Sterling, who is the mother of Pitata’s children, stared in shock at the tragedy that has befallen her one-time lover.
She was too distraught to talk.
By Horace Mills, Journalist (B.A. Media and Communications, UWI)
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