By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
A FAMILY of seven is now homeless after a fire gutted their home Monday morning destroying everything they owned.
Yesterday, 23-year-old Shamara Cox sifted through the ashes of the two-bedroom apartment off Mount Royal Avenue attempting salvage clothing and personal items, however there was little that could be saved.
Ms Cox lived in the home with her mother, her one-year-old daughter and three younger siblings all under the age of 18. She said the fire started from an unattended candle in one of the bedrooms.
The home had had no electricity for nearly two years and the water supply was turned off several weeks ago because the family could not afford to pay the utility bills, she said.
To make matters worse, Ms Cox said her mother, who just got a job at Baha Mar, suddenly came down with pneumonia. She said her mother was hospitalised and subsequently let go from the resort.
“My aunt was staying with us and she was in the bedroom with her one-year-old son. My brother lit a candle so she could see to move some of the clothes off the bed and rested the candle on top of an old television. The candle burned out, but some of the hot wax fell inside the cracks of the TV and caused it to spark,” Ms Cox said.
“We did not smell or see anything, it was around 2am, when my aunt came out to the front where I was with my baby and woke us up. We tried to put the fire out ourselves but the TV exploded and the fire spread fast, plus there was no water in the house to throw on the fire. So we just got everyone out and watched the fire destroy everything we had in the world.”
Shamara’s aunt, Shanika Cox, 34, said despite being homeless she is thankful everyone is alive. The loss of her personal items is compounded with the fact that she has been looking for a job for over a year but has had no luck.
“I am glad that we were able to make it out in time but we need help. These girls need clothing. They are 14 and 17 and need clothing to go to school and school supplies and everything that kids need. We also have two babies that we lost everything for,” she said.
The family has reached out to the Department of Social Services for assistance, but they said that the government agency has only provided temporary shelter.
What they really need, Ms Cox said, are clothes and personal items as well as jobs to help the adults get on their feet.
In spite of losing it all, the family appeared in good spirits yesterday and are hopeful they will rebound from the tragedy.
“Social Services helped us out by giving us a two-week stay in a motel but after that we have no clue what we will do. We have been wearing these same clothes since Sunday,” Ms Cox said. “Anything that anyone can do will help us a lot. If someone can help us out with work that will be appreciated as well. Through it all we will continue to smile because we are alive and we are healthy. “
If you would like to donate any items to the Cox family you can contact them at 341-5338 or 601-4212.