Fire victims find hope amid rubble

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An elderly woman among the remains of where her home once stood in The Mud.

By Candia Dames
candia@nasguard.com
The Nassau Guardian

MARSH HARBOUR, Abaco — A Haitian man picked up a Bible out of the rubble yesterday, a day after fire raced through a portion of the shantytown known as The Mud, destroying an estimated 30 homes.

The man read scripture still visible on the charred pages, which he cupped in his hands.

Moments later, those pages disintegrated against the force of the wind and were blown away.

Other residents who said they lost everything in the fire milled about for much of the day, picking through the blackened remains, searching for anything that could be salvaged.

Amid the loss, there appeared to be nothing that would be of any use to anyone.

Officials on the ground at The Mud yesterday said it was still unclear exactly how many people were impacted by the fire, which started around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

But they said the number exceeds 100.

They said preliminary investigations suggest the fire was started by a child playing with matches.

Juliette Gedeus, 24, said she was just outside her family’s home when the fire started.

Gedeus said her 4-year-old nephew came outside and said, “Auntie, Mommy’s bed is on fire.”

She said she ran in the house and tried dragging the mattress out since it was the only thing burning.

Gedeus sustained minor burns about her right arm and face, and failed in her attempts to save the home.

She said it did not take long for everything to be gone.

Gedeus also told The Nassau Guardian that the boy has denied that he was playing with matches.

“He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she said, adding that there were other adults in the house.

“He went in the house for less than two minutes. That’s why I don’t understand this fire.”

Gedeus said she lost all her possessions in the fire.

Yesterday, she was wearing clothes someone had given her.

Wednesday night she slept at a relative’s house and had planned to do so again last night.

Scores of other fire victims also had to seek shelter elsewhere Wednesday night and last night.

Henry Ducamel, 19, said he slept in a car on the night of the fire and planned to seek shelter last night.

His brother, Arnal Ducamel, said they were all devastated.

“I just hope all these people can find some place to live,” said Arnal Ducamel, who told The Guardian he had been renting from someone.

He said he had nothing left but the brothers said they were glad to be alive.

Techelet Casimir was also standing on the small portion of land where his home once stood.

Nearby, his wife and children sat under a tree.

He said they had no idea where they were going to go next, but they too were grateful that they were still alive.

“When you have life it is better for you,” the Haitian man said.

He said he was at work in Treasure Cay when the fire started.

Casimir said he slept at a friend’s house the night of the fire.

Yesterday, officials from the Department of Social Services were registering fire victims in a nearby church and offering assistance.

Officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and The Bahamas Red Cross were also at the site of the fire yesterday organizing relief efforts.

“One way or the other we will make it,” noted South Abaco MP Edison Key, who pointed out that officials had set up a shelter, although on the first night only a few of the fire victims had made use of it.

Fire in the MUD this week. Another Haitian Shanty Town Burnt in Abaco.

  • This will continue to happen because this is a group of people who 1. shouldn’t be here in the first place 2. deliberately and constantly break every building code the rest of us have to follow.
    Bahamians are suffering in this land with nowhere to live and nothing to eat. If a Bahamian tries to put up a structure without paying for a permit and getting a license, they are fined immediately. Forgive me if I don’t condone this lawlessness while the rest of us pay huge mortgages and can’t do what they do by stealing electricity etc. If a Bahamian has a fire, and they don’t have insurance, no one offers them government land to rebuild. This is the Bahamas and Bahamians should count first. Care and compassion shoudln’t lead to stupidity. These people are a lawless ungoverned people. They do as they like when they like but want to do it in our land. We simply cannot allow their substandards to become ours. This is not the wild west. The law applies to us all. How is it that they don’t have to follow any law but when the natural consequences of their lawlessness follows, everyone is surprised and expected to bail them out. I don’t think so.

  • Sexy CAMEL, carry yinna ****** home.The Bahamian government need to help the Bahamian people. Yinna just elect a new president, what they call him “sweet mickey”

  • Dear BP:

    Thank you for posting this news item which was the second part of the disturbing frontpage story in today’s Nassau Guardian by Candia Dames, captioned: “FNM MP WANTS LAND FOR SQUATTERS – Officials provide relief to fire victims”

    Every Bahamian should respond to these headlines with great ALARM!!!

    Firstly, the insulting suggestion that land should be provided for illegal immigrant squatters, when no such policy exists for Bahamian nationals, is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL INSULT!!!

    Secondly, no foreign national may be granted privileges not extended to others, if it is based, as this is, on national origin. Such obvious BIAS is offensive and should be challenged at the United Nations, since the fledgling group of souls known as Bahamians, numbering merely 350,000+ souls, now face cultural extinction!!!

    Who will sign the documents for this “proposed” land give-away to ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, following this recent fire in the Mud, Abaco?

    How much more, Oh Lord, are we to give to the citizens of Haiti?

  • IKB

    Someone could just at quickly had died in that fire! When will we put an end to these make-shift communities? Off cause the fire would spread quickly, when the bed is against the wall, wall is leaning up against another and so on!! They build without permitts, run electrical wires without any inspection. Sadly we won’t be move to address this problem until lives are lost!!

  • Sad

    Did this site really have to put these pictures on here with blsck people looking all out of place like that? This is a form of exploitation of the Haitian people and these pictures with men on the rooftops along with an elderly women sitting amidst the remains of her home is definitely cruel in my eyes. Being in a predominantly black country already, i feel as if certain images shouldn’t have to be put out there. Especially when plenty of Bahamians whom I come across daily ridicule Haitian people profusely I myself am an Anglo women and i feel that black people really need to let the hatred for other black people go. This is a pure shame…God help these people…my condolences goes out to those whose lost anything and everything.

    • IKB

      Where do you live? This is done with all divastations all around the world and in every major country around the world..it’s news? If it’s not seen, it would not have the level of appreciation and it won’t put the level of pressure on those in the position to affect the actions needed to prevent it from happening again!!!

  • Omg, this has got to be the saddest pictures that i have ever seen!!!! I hope that these people receive the help that they need…SMH