Although two of his six children grew up and became fire officers, fate brought a cruel end for Petrotrin retiree Leroy “Javay” Walters, 72, as he was killed in a fire that destroyed his Gasparillo home on Saturday.
Derek Walters, a fire officer in the Central Division, said he was on his way to Chaguanas when he learned that a fire broke out at his father’s home along the Bonne Aventure Road. By the time he returned to his father’s home, which is located next to his, Mon Repos firefighters were extinguishing the fire and had just found his father’s remains.
A police report stated that around 7.30 pm, Derek’s brother, Dariel, was at his downstairs apartment located at their father’ house. Dariel told police that he heard an explosion that came from the upstairs apartment and when he ran outside, he saw the upstairs apartment ablaze. With fire consuming the wooden and concrete structure within a few minutes, Dariel could not reach to his father’s bedroom.
At his home yesterday, Derek told Guardian Media that it appeared his father, who suffers from severe glaucoma, was against the wall as his body fell outside when the structure came crashing down.
He said neighbours and limers at a nearby bar went across to help, breaking the windows to free the smoke but the fire was too much for anyone to enter. Investigators from the Fire Prevention Unit had not yet determined the cause of the fire and are expected to return today.
Derek said that as a fire officer, he also looked around for possible signs of what might have claimed his father’s life but could not find anything.
“After 21 years in the service and seeing this much, it is surreal that this time, it is my father. I see so many people grieve in this situations but…” was all Derek could say about his father’s death. His sister Desire, also a fire officer, 34th birthday celebrations were cut short by the tragic news.
Obliquely opposite Walter’s home, several of his former colleagues at Petrotrin, where he worked as a plant maintenance foreman, sat down and reminisced about his life.