Historic home damaged by fire

Police arrested two men on suspicion of arson, in connection with the fire that damaged the historic home. - Photos: Mark Muckenfuss

A historic Bodden Town home that was at one time visited by Queen Elizabeth was damaged by fire on Friday morning.

Police arrested two Bodden Town men, ages 59 and 60, on suspicion of arson and took them into custody.

The home on Nettie Levy Court was the former residence of Ms. Levy, who died in 1994 at the age of 105. Family members said the structure is as much as 250 years old.

No one was injured in the incident.

Kevin Levy, who lives next door, said he was the first person to notice the fire, when he stepped outside his home to make a phone call.

“I saw the smoke coming out from under the eaves of the front door and I called the police,” Mr. Levy said.

He said by the time fire personnel arrived, about 10 minutes later, he could see flames inside the house.”

An estimate of the damage was not immediately available from fire officials.

Family members who gathered near the scene were angered and upset by the loss. They reported that two relatives had been living in the home for the past two years without permission. When other members of the Levy family moved to evict them in recent days, they said the two men threatened to burn the small home down. Police were called to the home earlier Friday morning because of that threat.

Family members identified one of the two men, who was standing near the home. He refused to provide his name. Other than saying he was not in the home when the fire started, he refused to answer any questions.

Fire investigators examine the damaged Bodden Town home Friday. – Photos: Mark Muckenfuss

“I cannot believe such a thing could happen in my lifetime,” said Emil S. Levy, who broke down in tears when he arrived at the scene. “This is the biggest disgrace in the history of the Levy family.”

He and other family members said Annette “Nettie” Levy lived in the home for most of her life. She was reportedly visited by Queen Elizabeth during the 1983 royal visit. Other dignitaries, including the governor, stopped in over the years.

Her granddaughter, Twyla Vargas, said Levy family members had been upset about the two men living in the home, calling them squatters, even though they are relatives. The police have been called to the home numerous times for various nuisance complaints, she said.

Ms. Vargas said her sister, Trilby Lingard, recently took title to the property and was in the process of evicting the two men. She had given them a deadline of Thursday, April 19, to be out of the home.

The men were still in the home Friday morning. After calling police, regarding the arson threat, Ms. Vargas said she and Lingard went to George Town to file a legal eviction notice. While there, they received a call that the house was on fire and raced back to the scene.

She said the family had hoped to turn the historic structure into a museum at some point.

“Everybody knows about the heritage of this house,” Ms. Vargas said. She at one point did a series of radio broadcasts called “Granny’s Backyard,” which recounted local history.

“All the stories came from that house,” she said. “I just want to cry.”

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