By Jared Liddell
A FIRE at Lot 570, 10 Field Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, on Monday afternoon, claimed the life of 68-year-old Lionel Kyte, a pensioner, who reportedly locked himself inside the house since Sunday because he did not want to visit the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to treat his illness.
The fire, which completely destroyed the one-flat wooden house, erupted around 16:20 hours. The house was one of two in the yard and was owned by Coral Bell; she was renting to Kyte, who lived alone, while she resides in the second house.
Bell told this newspaper that she was watching television when she heard a loud sound that emanated from the “back house”; upon investigating, Bell noticed the fire and the roof had already caved in. According to Bell, when she realised that Kyte was still inside the house, she raised an alarm and neighbours quickly rushed over; they formed a bucket brigade until the fire service arrived some 30 minutes later.
“I heard this bang coming from the back house, so I came outside to see what had happened. When I came out, the fire was already in the ceiling, so I tried to get water, but the water pressure was low, so I called out to the neighbours and everybody came out and we formed a bucket brigade, because we knew he was still in there and we just wanted to get him out,” Bell recalled.
Bell opined that the fire may have started from the stove, as she assumed that Kyte may have been cooking. After the fire subsided, Kyte’s charred remains were discovered in the kitchen.
Bell recalled that the last time she saw her neighbour was Monday morning when she gave him some soup through his window. Bell said Kyte was sick but he was hesitant to visit the GPHC because he was scared of contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus.
“Well, he was sick and someone was trying to get him to go to the hospital but he didn’t want to go cause he said the hospital got the COVID, so he was afraid and didn’t want to go. So since yesterday, he bolt up the door and even when I went this [Monday] morning to give he some soup, he didn’t even open, I had to pass it through the window,” Bell stated.
She described Kyte as very loving and stated that although he is not related to her, the absence of his presence will be missed by her and her family who have grown close to him over the three years he resided there.
Investigations are continuing into the cause of the fire.