Special Olympian Darrius Gokool, 23, is now homeless.
He was among members of four families, comprising 15 people, who lost their apartments during a fire on Wednesday at Garth Road, Princes Town.
Gokool, who is hearing impaired, represented T&T during the 2017 Special Olympics in Austria.
He lived with his parents in one of four apartments which went up in flames shortly after 8 am.
Darrius’ mother, Aruna Mohammed, recalled yesterday that she had just made breakfast and was about to take a shower when her husband David Gokool, 63, smelt smoke and went to the back of the building.
He saw the downstairs apartment, which is occupied by his two elderly uncles, on fire and raised an alarm.
Only one of his uncles was at home. He ran out of the apartment. Mohammed, a housewife, said, “All I heard, my husband bawling fire, fire. I drag my son and run and time I reach out here and turn around, the whole house was in blazing fire.”
She said the tenants from the two upstairs apartments also ran out. One of those apartments was occupied by a Venezuelan family of eight, including three children, while a woman and her daughter lived in the other one.
Noting that her son’s team placed fourth in floor hockey at the Olympics, Mohammed was thankful that his medals and certificates were not destroyed.
“He was about to leave to go Russia this year but it did not happen because of the war, so they cancel. Luckily, he was not in Russia because they was leaving in February, so they had to cancel that,” she said.
However, she lamented that all they have now is the clothes on their backs.
While they stayed with a friend on Wednesday night, she was not sure if they will be able to stay there another night. Mohammed said her husband has been receiving disability since he suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery to implant a pacemaker.
She said, “If anybody could help us out, even the people upstairs, the tenants, we all need the help, everybody need the help right now is not only me, everybody, because everybody lost everything, no clothes nothing, everybody what they run out with that is all they have so it very hard.”
Mohammed’s family can be contacted at 799-1885.
The cause of the fire is being investigated but losses are estimated at $1 million.
Officers from the Princes Town Police Station, Princes Town and San Fernando Fire Stations visited the scene.