Lindeners shocked as woman, 83, who lived alone killed in fire


Residents of Block 22, Wismar, Linden are still in shock after the remains of one of the community’s residents – 83-year-old Norma Semple – was discovered in her home following a fire in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The woman, who was affectionately called “Miss Norma” by residents in the community, had lived alone in the wooden house for years.

Prior to the discovery, a neighbour recalled hearing screams and feeling heat emanating from nearby, just moments before it was observed that the woman’s home was on fire.

Police has stated in a report that the woman’s neighbour, Alita Prowell, stated that she was inside her home when she heard a loud and continuous cracking sound which caused her to look through her window. She observed that the house was completely engulfed in flames.

As a result, an alarm was raised and neighbours sought to rescue the octogenarian but they were pushed back by the flames. The fire station was summoned and the fire was eventually extinguished. A search was then carried out among the debris and Semple’s lifeless body was seen on the ground below the kitchen area, burnt beyond recognition.

“When they come, everything done burn down already. They couldn’t have save nothing. It was blazing fire. You deh far away and you could feel the heat…they couldn’t save she. The fire was high up in the air,” a neighbour recalled.

One of the woman’s neighbours indicated that Semple had an issue with one of her legs which may have made it difficult for her to escape the blaze. They noted too that at first when residents were summoned to the scene, they were of the opinion that Semple might have left to visit relatives in Berbice.

“You don’t know if she deh in or she ain’t deh in because the door always lock up,” a neighbour related.

The neighbour noted however that the woman was seen the day prior by another neighbour.

“They say they see she opening the louvres window and peeking out”.

Residents were however stunned when the woman’s remains were found by firefighters.

“Everybody start screaming. Her death was sad!

“They find she right by the kitchen area downstairs, between the wood. She fall straight downstairs. It was really sad…It’s sad how she died”, the woman’s neighbour said.

Semple is said to have lived alone, while all of her family members are in Berbice and others overseas. She was said to be well-known in the Block 22 community.

“Nobody ain’t deh living here for she. She come here years ago and build there…She alone does deh up here in Linden”, the neighbour reiterated.

A neighbour also recalled the woman experiencing electrical sparks with an electrical installation in her home prior to the fire.

“Something used to be sparking…Dem boys used to get insulation tape and wrap it”, they said.

The neighbour also noted that Semple was assisted by people in the neighborhood.

“She does call dem children and dem children used to help she…She used to get taxi to go and collect she pension. The older she get with the foot problem she don’t really come out like before. She used to be in all the time.”

Neighbours recalled one of Semple’s grandsons living with her a while ago but noted that he left a few years ago for Berbice.

Following the fire, relatives reportedly travelled to Linden and visited the scene later on Monday. Investigations are continuing.

Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to ascertain the cause of the fire.

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