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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — A fire last evening gutted the five-bedroom house of former Royal Palm Estate star Billy ‘CC’ Wilmot in Bull Bay, St Andrew, following an attempt by his seven-year-old grandson to cook.
The fire began shortly after 3:00 pm, Wilmot’s spouse, Claudette, told the Jamaica Observer as a second fire truck carried out cooling down operations.
Residents said the police and firemen, who responded from York Park and Rollington Town, were quick on the scene.
The building, which was home to four adults and three children, was not insured.
No one was injured.
A distraught Claudette explained that the fire began on the second floor of the house, but quickly spread after efforts by family members and neighbours to contain it failed.
“There was a lot of historical stuff in that house. My in-laws were journalists. They came to Jamaica from Canada in the ’60s and with them lots of history, including letters written when one was in World War II. All the articles that they had ever written were destroyed in the fire. There were original letters signed by Michael Manley and the last colonial governor. There were original paintings from 1969; there were lots of artwork and carvings that we lost. But all of those are material things. The important thing is that we have life,” Claudette shared.
She explained that the fire started in her grandson’s bedroom.
She said the boy, who had repeatedly been told many times not to play with fire, is now traumatised and is feeling guilty and will therefore have to receive counselling.
“By the time one grandchild got downstairs to tell me what had happened and I ran upstairs and a neighbour followed me to try to contain the fire we couldn’t do anything. Other people came to help but we really couldn’t do much. But we give thanks for no loss of life; we will recover,” the woman said.
She said damage is estimated to be more than $30 million.
Councillor for the Dallas Division in St Andrew East Rural Celia James, who was at the scene, told the Observer that she will be contacting the Poor Relief Department of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation to get some assistance for the family.