Lisa Sookram screamed in anguish after running a few hundred metres to find her home being consumed by fire.
With the grief of losing her school books and uniforms, Sookram’s daughter Emelia, 16, fainted and was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital. Now, after spending one week in school, Emelia and her 13-year-old brother, Joshua, will not be able to return to school for a long time. The family of eight was brought to tears yesterday as they revisited the ruins of their home hidden in the bushes off Red Brick Trace, South Oropouche. A washing machine, a stove, and a wardrobe that Sookram had just finished paying for were reduced to ashes and shells.
Sookram, 45, said that she and her family had gone to her sister’s home nearby on Friday to watch television as the house had no electricity. Around 7.30 pm, her phone rang and her son Emelio answered it. Suddenly, he dropped the phone and sprinted off towards their home.
Sookram said, “I thought something happened to my parrot so I used my sister’s phone and called my nephew who would have been around. I asked him what going on?”
His response was deafening. “ 'What going on is that your house is burning down'.”
With her heart beating heavily, she said she went home and all she could see was fire.
“I immediately put my hands on my head and started to bawl ‘Oh God! My house. Where are my children going to sleep? What I’m I going to do?'
"My daughter started to tremble and sweat, and she fainted away. I had to try to console my children because all we were left with were the clothes that we are wearing now.”
Firefighters and an ambulance responded and met neighbours using water from a standpipe to keep their house from going up in flames. It was stressful for Sookram as she looked at the ruins, saying that it was difficult to find a home, having to move from place to place with her children previously. She and her children’s father were separated and in 2012, the burden of raising them fell entirely on her when he was murdered.
Working Cepep and URP over the years helped her to slowly build the family's plywood home. Now work has dried up and she depends on her husband's income from SM Jaleel and Company Ltd where he works as a warehouse attendant. The family is also mourning the loss of their pet parrot Mommy and two dogs that died in the fire.
“I feel like a person who has lost a child because this home was my children’s life. I saw real trouble to build this house because my husband was not working at the time and my children were young. I just finished paying off for furniture and appliance and it’s all gone now,” Sookram said.
The family is hoping to get assistance to build back their home.
They can be reached at 321-4078.