By Makeida Antonio
Residents of Booby Alley yesterday awoke to the tragic news that one of their neighbours had been killed in a house fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Observer was on the scene when fire tenders pulled out of the Point area, following a call to tend to the blaze which destroyed two homes and killed one member of the community.
Onlookers expressed shock as they tried to understand how the tragic event could have happened.
According to police, the 66-year-old man – who was identified by Fire Chief Elvis Weaver as St Clair Oscar but went by the nickname ‘Zambi’ – perished in the house fire at around 3.30am.
He resided alone and a neighbour called the fire service to report the incident. Police spokesperson Assistant Superintendent Frankie Thomas said investigations remain ongoing.
Barrymore Stevens, a neighbour, told Observer that the last time he spoke to the deceased was three days ago. He described Oscar as a reserved individual of Rastafari faith, who was not known by many as he preferred to “keep to himself”.
Stevens also recounted that the deceased lived in the US Virgin Islands for some time before moving home to his birth country of Antigua about 20 years ago. He also recalled sending Oscar to New York to conduct business on his behalf several years ago.
The 79-year-old neighbour believes that Oscar may have fallen asleep and forgotten to extinguish a lit candle, since his home did not have any electricity.
Stevens also said it was around 5.30am when he realised there was a fire and called on another neighbour, known as ‘Baby-I’, to alert the fire service.
“Barry, don’t feel sorry for me,” were the last words that Oscar said to his neighbour prior to his passing.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who is also Member of Parliament for St John’s City West, sent his sympathies to Oscar’s loved ones.
“I extend sincere condolences to the family of the deceased,” Prime Minister Browne told Observer yesterday.
Fire Chief Elvis Weaver confirmed to Observer that Oscar’s house had no electricity but said the cause of the blaze remained unclear and the subject of investigation.