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Fire leaves widower, 2 daughters homeless
Widower Sham Katwaroo and his two teenage daughters are begging the public for help after their house was destroyed by fire over the weekend. Katwaroo, 35, of Old San Fernando Road, Penal, said he was in desperate need of help because he had no place to put his daughters, Shalini, 14, and Nalini, 13. Both girls attend the Penal Secondary School.
Katwaroo said the girls’ teachers took them to buy new uniforms, school shoes and books yesterday after raising funds at the school for them. Since the fire destroyed the $90,000 house on Saturday, Katwaroo said he had been staying with his sister and her nine children in a two-bedroom house at Laltoo Trace. “It is not really very comfortable but at least we have shelter and for that we are grateful. However, we really need to get a place of our own,” Katwaroo said.
The distraught father, who works as a salesman for S Jagroop Wholesalers in Marabella, said his employers had been very supportive. “They gave me a few days off to organise my business and they left me with the company’s car so that I can run errands,” Katwaroo said. Recalling the fire, Katwaroo said he was asleep at home around 6 am when he was awakened by the smell of smoke. When he opened his eyes he saw fire coming from the western side of the roof.
He woke up his daughters and told them to run out of the house. The fire spread quickly, engulfing the wooden upper floor. Katwaroo said the only thing he was able to save was an envelope containing personal documents like his identification card, passport and birth certificates. Katwaroo said all of their clothing, jewelry and household appliances were destroyed.
Wiping away tears, Katwaroo said his daughters were now starting to heal after the death of their mother Gaitri Kiran Katwaroo. “Right now we are trying to cope...I don’t know why all of this is happening to us, but we are trying to stand united as a family so we can get through this together,” he said. He added that the Office of Disaster Preparedness had donated two mattresses to them as well as a temporary food card.
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal said he met with the family yesterday to discuss the possibility of acquiring an HDC house. Anyone wanting to help Katwaroo can contact him at 297-6529.
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