FRIDAY, MARCH 2 UPDATE: A family has been left devastated after flames ripped through their home destroying all their belongings.
The fire gutted the top floor apartment that Andrene Bean had called home for more than 22 years. The mother-of-three lost treasured photographs of her children growing up as well as clothing, -passports, furniture and electronic goods.
A fund has already been set up to help the family.
The family’s dog, Avery, managed to survive the inferno. The tiny Pomeranian was plucked to safety by firefighters and handed over to a tearful Ms Bean in the street, as thick smoke billowed from her smoldering home.
Ms Bean told the Bermuda Sun: “We have lost everything. We had lived there for 22 years so everything we ever owned was in that house.
“I am still finding it hard to accept that this has happened to us.
“We have lost our clothes, our family photos, our furniture, everything. We cannot really believe what has happened.”
Ms Bean said that her insurance company had helped to put the family up in a guesthouse in Hamilton until after the weekend.
But she added: “After that we do not know what we are going to do.
“I have three children of two, ten and 16 and they have no clothes at the moment. The two older ones are still smiling, but the baby does not understand what has happened.
“The Salvation Army has helped us with toothbrushes and things like that and the police officers have been very kind too and provided us with some basic clothing.
“We are lucky that the dog survived and I am very grateful to the firefighters for getting her out.
“But we have lost everything else, all the memories we had of the house have gone up in flames with it.”
Firefighters from across the island were called to the fire on Till’s Hill in Hamilton at 10:40am yesterday.
A total of 22 officers attended the scene and took around 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
Firefighters in breathing apparatus took it in turns to enter the building and douse the flames with water.
Lieutenant Dana Lovell told the Sun that the building was fully ablaze when officers arrived at the scene.
He said: “This was definitely one of the biggest fires we have dealt with in the last year. It was a stubborn fire too as the wind up there acted as an accelerant to the flames.
“But we were able to bring the situation under control in around half an hour. The whole of the building’s six rooms were affected by the fire. One room was completely gutted and nothing in the property was salvageable.
“We are gratified to know that we saved the dog from this fire.
“The owner was certainly very emotional when she was given the pet back. We can not say what caused the blaze at the moment but an investigation is underway.”
How you can help: Radio personality Kristy Burgess, aka Miss Thang, from HOTT 1075, contacted us last night to say that The Phenomenal Women Association has decided to assist this family in need and anyone who wishes to help can donate to its charity account at HSBC at 010-758381-012.