New home takes shape for fire-hit George Town family

Close to midnight at the building site in Windsor Park, it is not unusual to find a small group of men hard at work. 

Ordinarily a project of this scope, a home for four families, could take years to complete. But for Alwin Buttrum, his brothers and friends, there is an extra motivation. 

The family lost everything when their home, a compound of adjoining wooden buildings, burned to the ground in a matter of minutes in a devastating blaze in July. 

An overwhelming community response has helped the Buttrum family begin rebuilding a new home on the site. 

Arch and Godfrey is managing the project and other businesses have chipped in with materials, technical expertise and logistical support, but much of the legwork is being done by the brothers and their friends. 

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“I work for myself, so whenever I have time I come down here and work on the house,” said Mr. Buttrum. 

“I am sometimes here from 8:30 in the morning until midnight.” 

Initially he had hoped to have the property completed in time for Christmas. But hold-ups in planning and other delays mean that will not be possible and he is now targeting a February finish. 

The foundations have been laid, the initial plumbing has been completed and the crew will start laying blocks soon. 

Mr. Buttrum said the family aimed to have a small celebration at the half-finished home with the community on Christmas Day. He and three of his siblings and their children, between the ages of one and 15, were made homeless when the family compound burned down in July. They have been living in rented accommodation as the rebuilding project takes shape. 

Initially the fire was devastating, but with the help of the community, he says, the family has turned it into a positive experience. 

Alwin Buttrum works on rebuilding his home, which burned down in July. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

Alwin Buttrum works on rebuilding his home, which burned down in July. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay
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  1. It looks like obtaining building permits was a smooth sailing for this family. Just need to be sure that construction and building inspectors regularly visit the site to ensure that construction meets local building codes and ordinances and the new fire marshal signs off on the building upon its completion.
    Good job otherwise.