Fireman urges vigilance after 76-year-old perishes in house blaze

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Deputy superintendent at the Jamaica Fire Brigade Rohan Powell is appealing for households to practise fire prevention measures following Thursday morning’s blaze which claimed the life of 76-year-old Yvonne Findley in Mandeville.

The measures, he said, include the installation of smoke detectors and ensuring at least one window is hinged in case of a fire.

“She lived in a house so grilled, you wouldn’t even begin to understand inside out,” he said in reference to Findley’s property.

“We have been encouraging smoke detectors in houses for the longest time in our fire prevention training in our community talks. We cannot overemphasise [the need] for smoke detectors. Yes, it is good to have your house safely grilled; we encourage that at least one of your bedroom windows be on a hinge instead of being grilled to the wall, with a padlock,” he said.

He explained that in the event of a fire, that window can be used to escape the burning building or call out to neighbours for help.

Powell told the Jamaica Observer that shortly after 1:00 am the brigade received a call about the fire at Sheridon Drive, Fairbanks Park, off West Road and Ward Avenue.

“When we responded, there was a house fully engulfed in flames. We eventually had three units two from Christiana and one from Mandeville responding to the fire,” he said.

Findley’s charred remains were found when the fire was extinguished about 7:00 am.

Findley reportedly lived alone in her 10-apartment house which the brigade said sustained damage estimated at $40 million.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

“A team of investigators will [revisit] the scene to do further investigation to determine the cause of the fire,” said Powell.

Findley’s neighbour, Eileen Spence, knew her for 21 years, having lived in the community for almost three decades.

“She was very secluded, mannerly and she lived alone. She had lived with her mother, but she died two years ago,” said Spence.

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