Fire leaves 102-y-o homeless

A firefighter hangs his head in regret as he surveys the remains of the centenarian’s razed apartment

Barrington Flemming – Staff Reporter

  • Owner suspects arson

A centenarian living in the comfort of the December of his years, had his ordered life disrupted on Thursday morning when a raging inferno gutted the 11-apartment house in which he lived at Chambers Drive, Granville Montego Bay leaving him, as well as three other persons, homeless. Estimate of the damage has been put at 9 million dollars.

The 102-year-old man escaped the blaze unhurt, but now has nowhere to live and is in need of clothes, as his belongings were all burnt in the fire.

The Montego Bay Fire Department reports that it received a call at 6:32 a.m. Thursday to a house fire at Chambers Drive, Granville.

Firefighters responded and on their arrival at the location, the fire was seen confined to an 11-apartment dwelling house and threatening other dwellings. Based on the scope of the fire, a request was made for assistance from the Ironshore Fire Station, which responded by sending another unit.

The fire was subsequently brought under control and extinguished.

Henry Osbourne, owner of the house who bemoans the loss of all his material possession, including money to pay taxes, says he is more concerned with the welfare of his 102-year-old father-in-law.

“I have to think about his welfare. He cannot move around like the rest of us. We are now sleeping at the home of friends, as we seek to rebuild our lives,” Mr. Osbourne related.

He further explained what he encountered on Thursday morning.


“While coming over from the College (Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College) where I exercise every morning, I saw the smoke and somebody cry out and said ‘Mr. Osbourne your house is on fire’. So when I came over, the place was already engulfed and I tried with the hose but that just could not help. I lost everything. Look at me, all I have is the clothes that I exercise in.

He explained that his daughter, who was in the bathroom at the time of the fire, came out and heard someone shout ‘The house is on fire!’ and she immediately sprang into action, grabbing hold of the old man and her son, pulling them from the blazing house.

“She says it was difficult because the smoke was so thick and dense, but she managed to pull them both to safety.,”

Mr. Osbourne, who is a devout Seventh Day Adventist, says picking up the pieces won’t be easy.

“We lost everything. My daughter bakes and she lost all her baking equipment and everything. My faith in God remains unshaken so I know he will pull us through.”

Mr. Osbourne says he has a strong suspicion that it was a case of arson, but declined to comment further when quizzed as to what prompted his belief.


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