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Wheelchair-bound man escapes death

Mon Repos home goes up in flames...
Monday, January 20, 2014
Fire victim Steve Brown, of Mon Repos, San Fernando, sits in a car while being interviewed yesterday. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

Wheelchair-bound San Fernando resident Steve Brown escaped death on Saturday night when he was rescued from his burning home by passers-by. A lighted candle is believed to have caused the fire which destroyed Brown’s home. The 52-year-old Mon Repos man is pleading for assistance after he lost all his possessions in the fire. He told reporters he was paralysed from the waist down and had nowhere to sleep. He said his friend was allowing him to stay at his home until he finds a place to live.



“I would really like a little assistance,” he said. According to police reports, Brown was at his home at Commissiong Street, Mon Repos, around 8.30 pm on Saturday when he noticed fire in his living room. “I was in my wheelchair and I spin around when I see this bright light in the living room,” he said. “I have no current so I light two candles, one in the living room and another in the room. When is see the fire, I was shocked. I start to call out and I tried to go back inside, but I realise it too late.” 


Brown said everything happened so fast he could not salvage his Honda Trajet taxi which was parked in his yard next to the house. The front of the vehicle was scorched and the windshield was shattered from the blaze. Brown said when he realised there was nothing he could do he tried to escape from the house and threw himself from the gallery down the front stairs. He said his wheelchair came tumbling after him.


It was this tumbling wheelchair that alerted passer-by Ayonna Charles and her mother who were driving along Dos Santos Street, San Fernando when they noticed the flames. Charles told reporters at the scene of the fire that she saw the house in flames and “I saw a wheelchair tumbling down the stairs.” She said she did not stop to think when she saw the wheelchair.


“I just opened my car door and flew up and saw a handicapped guy. We ran to assist him, we got him out on to the road and my mom called the Fire Service and within five minutes the fire (officers) and police were on the scene,” she said. Mon Repos/Navet councillor Shaka Joseph visited the scene and promised to help Brown. He said Brown will get a wheelchair as soon as possible. Fire investigators are expected to return to the scene today to determine the cause of the fire.


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