Fire officers at the scene of the fire in downtown Port of Spain on Tuesday 29 December 2020. (Image: ABRAHAM DIAZ)

A blind man made a daring escape to safety after being caught in a fire in East Port-of-Spain believed to have been deliberately set.

65-year-old Angelo Joseph escaped through a window and made his way to the roof, before getting assistance from a neighbour who helped him get to the roof of another building, away from the smoke and blaze. 

The blaze occurred shortly before 2pm on Tuesday afternoon at a “commercial historic building”, on the corner of George Street and Independence Square, Port of Spain, according to the acting chief fire officer Marlon Smith.

In an interview with Guardian Media at the scene, Smith said when he and his officers arrived, some people were trapped inside the building; however, they were eventually able to get to safety.

Two Venezuelan children, ten and seven, were among those caught in the building.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the upper floor of the building; however, tenants say it was deliberately set following a robbery that took place at a small business place located inside the building on Monday night. 

Fire services are also concerned about the residential occupation of the building, which is listed as a commercial property.

“At the entrance of the building, there is a clear sign that says, ‘commercial building’. So clearly, if residents would have been inside it would have been contrary to what was stated outside the building,” Acting Chief Fire Officer Smith lamented.

Police described the living arrangements inside as similar to “dog kennels” because they are small and cramped.

Investigations are ongoing.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.