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Joiner Junior Rattan goes through the charred remains of his woodworking shop yesterday. The property was one of two destroyed and two damaged during a fire that was deliberately set at Bayshore Avenue, Marabella, on Tuesday night.

While a mother of three was hacked to death in San Fernando on Tuesday night, just six kilometres away, another woman was running for her life after a friend locked her in the room of a house and set it ablaze.

While 26-year-old Metcher Missette escaped death, the senseless act led to the destruction of two houses and a woodworking shop and damage to two other homes at Bayshore Avenue, Marabella. An ambulance took Missette to the San Fernando General Hospital for treatment for burns.

Police arrested her attacker, a 30-year-old fisherman, at the hospital, where he too went for treatment for burns on both legs and right hand. Medics sedated him and admitted him to the Psychiatric Department for an evaluation.

Police said that around 8.30 pm, the suspect was at a house on Bayshore Avenue with Missette when they began arguing. The suspect then reportedly threw gasoline into the room, shouting that he would set the house on fire with both of them. He then ignited the gas with a lighter and left the room, leaving Missette inside, but she escaped through another door.

The fire destroyed the house and spread to neighbouring homes belonging to Kevin Mohammed, Nikita Williams and Elford Howard.

FSOs Sooknanan, Charles and a party of fire officers from the Mon Repos Fire Station responded and extinguished the blaze.

Junior Rattan, who owns the apartment that the suspect set ablaze, had his woodworking shop next door. Rattan said yesterday that he knew the suspect as a child and gave him a room to stay. Rattan said the suspect previously spoke about burning down the house but he did not think he would do it.

“I left him to stay in the room there and I heard them quarrelling, but I did not expect him to do that. He likes to talk, so I did not take it seriously. Like he wanted to kill her. He said he would kill her and kill himself but he could not take the heat, so he ran out,” Rattan said.

Rattan lost approximately $80,000 in equipment and material, some of which he had just purchased to complete a project for a client.

It was just a few weeks ago that Garvin Scott moved into his new home. Scott was the recipient of a home from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing and Village Improvement Programme (HVIP) in January. Now, the back wall of the house is on the verge of collapsing as a result of the fire damage.

Scott said he was at home when he heard the suspect quarrelling and began smelling gas. He said he checked outside and saw Rattan watching the suspect. Knowing that the suspect usually misbehaves, Scott said he returned inside, not taking it seriously.

“Lo and behold, after I went back inside, I heard an explosion and the whole place shook. By the time I ran out there was a fire inside my place,” Scott said.

He said he joined Rattan with a hose in trying to out the fire but it was too hot to stay close. As the fire began spreading, Scott and some of his neighbours took as much furniture and equipment out of the houses.—Kevon Felmine