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Pensioner homeless after arson attack

Published: 
Friday, August 18, 2017
Errol Lawrence shows the pieces of clothing he was able to salvage from the ruins of his home which was destroyed by fire. Photo by:Kerwin Pierre

A 72-year-old pensioner from San Juan was left homeless following a suspected arson attack at his home on Wednesday night.

Errol Lawrence, of Lawrence Trace, Bagatelle Road, San Juan, was at home watching television around 10.10 pm when he heard a strange noise coming from the upstairs, which is sometimes used by his grandson.

Recounting the incident when a Guardian Media news team visited the property yesterday, Lawrence said: “I opened my door thinking it’s my grandson but when I come outside I saw it was a man dressed in black. I call out to him but he didn’t even look back. He just jump the wall and start to run down the track.”

He said when he turned around to return inside the house he noticed that the house was on fire.

“I never bawl so in my life,” Lawrence said as he broke down in tears while staring at the charred ruins of his family home built by his father in 1962.

He said that neighbours were alerted by his screams, contacted the Fire Service, and came to his assistance.

With their help, the part-time vehicle auto-body repairman managed to salvage a customer’s vehicle which was parked in his garage before the fire spread.

Fire officers from the San Juan Fire Station arrived on the scene within minutes and managed to extinguish the blaze before it spread to neighbours’ home. They were unable to save Lawrence’s home and his belongings, which were almost completely destroyed or rendered useless after smoke and water damage.

Fire investigators visited the property yesterday and confirmed that the fire was as result of arson.

Lawrence suggested that the arsonist may have targeted his grandson as the fire started in his room.

“This man didn’t come from Toco or Matelot. It had to be somebody in the area,” Lawrence said.

“If he had a problem with my grandson he could have look for him. Why they had to do a poor old man this?

“People say at least you could rebuild but at my age it hard because I have nothing,” he said as he pointed to a meagre pile of clothing— the only items he managed to save from the fire.

Members of the public who wish to provide assistance to Lawrence can contact him at 378-1615. Investigations are continuing.