VIDEO: Linstead woman loses house, children’s back-to-school supplies days before her birthday

A single parent, Christeen Richards, won’t be having the best of birthdays this week Wednesday, September 30.

That’s because she, along with four of her five children, has been affected by a fire that flattened her wooden house at Bennett Lane in Victoria, Linstead, St. Catherine.

The house comprised two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. However, Richards was adding another bedroom, a dining room and a veranda to the structure.

The fire consumed everything in its reach – including several pieces of furniture, electrical appliances and items of clothing.

Richards noted that she also lost the uniforms and other back-to-school supplies that she purchased recently for her two school-age children. Her youngest child, who is seven years old, attends Victoria Primary School. The 15-year-old is enrolled at Charlemont High.

“The kids are still shaken up with everything that happened,” Richards disclosed.

She said personnel from Linstead Fire Station are yet to state what they think caused the blaze. The station also declined to provide information to The Beacon, noting that the investigating officer was not at work.

Richards, a geriatric nurse, said she was on the job at sunset on Friday, September 25, when she received a phone call informing her that the house was ablaze.

She added that, when she went to the location the following day, someone reported seeing a small fire at the back of the building before the house became engulfed in flames.

“I cannot understand a small fire [being] to the back of the house,” Richards said. “It is as if somebody definitely set the house on fire, but I cannot say for sure.”

The 46-year-old told The Beacon that none of her children was at home at the time of the fire.

She said her adult daughter, who lives elsewhere in the community, informed her that she went to the house hours before the blaze and ensured that all electrical appliances were unplugged.

Richards, along with her children, is now staying with her mother, who also lives in Victoria.

She is hoping to rebuild, and is welcoming assistance.

The Charlemont High School Past Students Association (Staff Chapter) said it is donating 1,000 building blocks to the displaced family. It also noted that other staff members are contributing.

Richards disclosed that she was living on leased property at Victoria for some seven years, adding that she is now seeking a parcel of land on which to build a more stable home.

By Horace Mills, Journalist


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