Less than a month after her husband passed away, teacher Jennifer Mc Neil-Greene and her children were dealt another tragic blow when a fire destroyed their home on Valentine’s Day.
Nneka lived there with her mother, three brothers, and cousin, all of whom except for her 16-year-old brother, are adults.
The family’s hurt, however, went much deeper than the loss of their home, as all his personal belongings and other items that they clung to as a reminder of him were also reduced to ashes.
“Just yesterday (Saturday) mummy made up dad’s side of the bed for Valentine and taking pictures, and she remembering her love with him. And now this morning that burn up. All the pictures we had of him gone, everything. It just so sad. It heartwrenching because at the end of the day we still mourning his loss and then to come to lose your house that you have all those memories with him in, honestly it just not a nice place to be,” Mc Neil-Greene’s daughter Nneka, 25, said during an interview with reporters.
Sitting on a chair nearby as firefighters extinguished the fire at her home on St Vincent Street, Nneka said her family had planned to spend Valentine’s Day together.
She said, “We would have cooked something and share memories of dad when he was loving and the lil sly remarks he would make sometimes because he had a smart mouth and all these things. It could have been a day of family and love and togetherness and now it is a day of devastation and it would always be remembered as such.”
The fire broke out shortly after 7 am in a front bedroom.
Her 51-year-old mother, an early childhood care teacher and her 16-year-old brother suffered minor burns.
Nneka recalled, “A few minutes after seven I heard my mom screaming, ‘allyuh fire, firm, get water, get water.’ So I went to the kitchen to get a basin of water to go to throw and we had no access to the room that the fire started in and the next thing I know when I went to get the basin again to throw I could not pass because it had a set of smoke. I looking for my slippers could not find my slippers. The only thing I could have picked up was what was in front of me on the bed which was my phone.”
She said they tried to get into the front room to prevent the fire from spreading but the room was locked.
One of her brothers slept in that room, but he left home earlier that morning.
Lamenting that they were still in grief over the death of father Kurt Greene on January 18, she said, “Now to lose my whole house is a lot because none of us working home. The only person that working is my mom and she works in Tobago and is a good thing, I will say it’s God intervention that she came back yesterday because if it wasn’t for her all of us would have been in a worse situation because of where the room is.”
She said her mother alerted them about the fire. “In this situation, she was the saving angel in this whole situation because she woke us up.”
She said her mother made sure they all came out of the house.
“She was outside bawling, calling our names because she really could not handle losing her husband and then coming to lose her children. So this is a really, really terrible situation to be in because we haven’t even gotten over the loss of our father and now we lose everything. We have no shoes on our feet. The only clothes we could have come out with is the clothes on our backs. We have nothing,” she said.
She said her mother got burnt while trying to get the keys for one of their cars.
Her teenaged brother was also burnt on his right arm. The fire did not spread to that car, but their other two vehicles were gutted.
“We won’t even able to get to our dogs and my dad’s pigeons, my dad does homer pigeon races and that’s the only thing we have to remember him by and they were also in the back there,” she said.
Nneka said she had already bought items for a small food business she had planned to open.
But, everything, including her documents, was destroyed.
The cause of the fire is still to be determined. Anyone willing to assist the family can contact them at 382-0694.