Sixty now homeless after Silver Lake Boxing Day fire
A man vigorously brushes his teeth and spits down a precipice overlooking a gorgeous river and green, green valley.
This is a cold and wet Silver Lake at seven in the morning, the part of the small hamlet that you do not see as you drive up and down the Roseau Valley- the part that screams for all the attention the State could offer- the part that fire gutted on the worst Boxing Day in the lives of 60, now homeless, people.
A dog sits on black, burnt wood and stares mournfully as its master surveys his burnt dwelling house where his wife and children and his dogs lived a few hours earlier. Two small dogs either ran away in fear, or was burnt to death, he says.
A woman, her concrete shop stands in the middle of the basket-ball-court-size mini-village of burnt wood and galvanize and debris, hands out free brown mastiff loaves of bread to the victims of the fire. If her shop had not been razed, she says, she would, at this moment, be quite busy selling the loaves and sachets of coffee and thin slices of Cheddar cheese to all 18 families who lives nearby.
"Everybody come by me for their bread, for their coffee," she said. No longer will they come.
She lamented that she had stocked the shop with extra bags of sugar, of flour of rice, because it is Christmas. All burnt.
The fire, at Silver Lake, a hamlet situated just 10 minutes from the centre of the city, started at about 9.30 pm, eyewitnesses said.
"It started there," said a man pointing to the spot, now a mass of twisted, blackened galvanized sheets. "And I see the wind just push that up there. See propane cylinders there? (as he points again) - some of them not even release their heads yet."
"Everything burn, everything go," said another man, aiming a finger at a charred barely-recognizable appliance. "That is my washing machine."
He said some of the victims now live at the community centre at Bath Estate, others have camped at relatives and friends; the majority stayed back, staring hopelessly at their burnt houses as smoked and flames rose from smoldering embers.
What caused the fire? There's no official word yet but theories abound.
"I vex wee boy," a man said. "So if a fire start there, right there… how come in little time it burned down that house and that house… and that house? You mad- this is a set fire. And you know what? - Nobody will talk".
"I mad you know-I tell you I mad," he added.
Another man said he had a premonition that something was going to happen in Silver Lake over the Christmas season.
"I was smellin' somethin' going to happen," he said. "Last night, see me drinkin' tea bags. I doh drink not one rum for Christmas because I knew that was goin' to happen. Weh, weh,weh! It still have fire in de place!"