Contractor to rebuild fire victims' home

A community construction team

Construction firm Arch and Godfrey has stepped in as project manager of a massive community effort to build a new home for a family who lost everything in a fire at the weekend. 

The home in Windsor Park, George Town, burned to the ground in a matter of minutes on Friday night after an electrical fire ripped through the wooden building, leaving 17 people homeless. 

The blaze prompted a spontaneous outpouring of community support for the Buttrum family. 

Now Arch and Godfrey has agreed to manage the rebuilding effort, which will be accomplished through donations of time, materials and equipment from the firm and other businesses. 

The burned-out building was demolished this week. Architect Eduardo Bernal is already working on designs for a two-story building to house the five families. 

Garth Arch, of Arch and Godfrey, said the company would organize and manage the building project to ensure the homes are built safely and within current building codes. 

“We felt that with our expertise we would be able to assist the family and the project to ensure the house gets rebuilt as quickly and as safely as possible,” Mr. Arch said. 

He added that several other contractors have offered to donate materials and expertise, and planning and building regulators have agreed to expedite the permit process. 

He said the construction team has set the target of getting the family moved into their new home, on the same site, by Christmas. 

Some of the manpower for the rebuild will come from the family. 

“All the family will be chipping in, right down to the babies,” Alwin Buttrum told the Cayman Compass this week. “Everybody is going to help. We are a close family and we have friends in the neighborhood that are helping.” 

Matthew Leslie, of Cayman Islands Brewery, who has been organizing volunteer efforts, said the support from the community had been overwhelming. 

He said Arch and Godfrey’s involvement would ensure the house will be safe and up to planning codes. 

“It is not like they are getting a free mansion. It is going to be a basic structure,” said Mr. Leslie. “We are going to do what is needed to get them their home back.” 

Tradesmen or contractors willing to assist may call Arch and Godfrey on 949-2370. 

A community construction team including architect Eduardo Bernal, Alwin Buttrum, Garth Arch, Johnny Buttrum and Matthew Leslie aims to rebuild thefire-stricken home by Christmas.
A community construction team including architect Eduardo Bernal, Alwin Buttrum, Garth Arch, Johnny Buttrum and Matthew Leslie aims to rebuild the fire-stricken home by Christmas. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY


  1. Should those of us who have insurance for our possessions and home now cancel that insurance on the understanding everyone will chip in to pay for everything when something happens?

  2. John you should be thankful for Arch and Godfrey stepping up to help out this family as I am sure they are very happy and thankful and will return good faith into the community. I am sure if this happened to your home, whether you had insurance or not and someone company stepped in to help you wouldn’t be writing the comment that you have. I believe you’d be thankful just the same.

  3. I completely understand John’s comment. However I have no problem with this, if people want to chip in and help out good for them, it’s great what they are doing for this family. On the other hand I do have a problem with those that expect assistance if they find themselves in a jam like this because they had no insurance as if it’s the governments or the communities responsibility to dig you out of the hole.

    This family was lucky that this happened at a time when people could and are willing to assist them, the next family that gets burnt out may not be so lucky and then that when the problems start, because they will feel that they are entitled to the same type of assistance and community outpouring and cry foul if they don’t get it.

  4. Was this house uninsurable? When one accepts large donations from the community, expects babies to chip in, and receives a preferential treatment from the government officials, the community has the right to know the truth.
    Life happens, and it is nice to know that in times of hardship there is a community that would offer a shoulder to lean on. Kudos to all who stepped in.
    Only why this same community ignores others in need?

  5. The sad side to assisting those in need is that unless you can help everyone the same way there will be those that you are consider to have ignored or neglected.

    The fallout to this story will not really be seen until the next family is burned out of home and unfortunately has no insurance asks for the same type of assistance and preferential treatment.

  6. I have absolutely no problem with members of the community giving a helping hand to anyone in difficulties and I hope the family can rebuild their lives. Many of us do this every day either with practical help to neighbours who have come across bad luck of via our charitable giving.
    However, it does set a precedent where there is an expectation that the community will rally around whenever a situation arises when, like the majority of us, we have taken precautions to protect ourselves via insurance.
    This family is lucky that people have come forward, will the next family …. and the next… and the next….?