LIVES TURN UPSIDE DOWN AFTER JACQUES AVENUE FIRE
Sade Folkes, a 23-year-old mother of two girls, stood in her yard under a charred tree staring blankly at the burnt remains of what used to be her home. With her one-year-old baby over her shoulder, and her six-year-old standing by her feet, she told THE STAR that she lost everything in Sunday’s gas explosion on Jacques Avenue, Kingston.
“It just traumatise me. Mi can’t sleep. Me can’t eat. I was sleeping when it happened , so every time me a sleep, mi jump up and think say me affi grab up mi baby them and run,” Folkes explained.
Folkes, who lived with her two children, her mother and her three siblings, are among ten persons whose home was gutted last Sunday afternoon, when an illegal gas operation near their yard caused an explosion, which quickly engulfed their house. None of the occupants managed to save any of their possessions. The incident left five persons severely burned, one of whom succumbed to his injuries.
On the day of the incident, Folkes said she was taking a nap when she was awoken by loud screams and banging on her back door.
“Two youths did deh pon the back veranda using the WiFi, then me hear dem a beat down the door because the gas did a burn them. That’s when mi jump up and me hear the gas a rush, then me see the fire a run come through the house, so mi run through the fire because me decide say me a come out,” Folkes recalled, adding, “Me couldn’t go pull the door fi them, so they had to run through the fire and a get burn up.”
Both youngsters, are still in hospital. One of them is the landlord’s stepson who also lived at the house, and the other is a neighbour, 15-year-old Aundre Dennis, whose mother, Carline Clarke, said she is stressed out by the ordeal.
“Mi can’t bare to see me son like this. Him not talking and him head swell big. Him not seeing. His hands and feet wrapped up in bandage, and him face burn up and a strip off,” Clarke said.
“He is in intensive care at the University Hospital of The West Indies. One of the doctor say him ago need plastic surgery and an operation to cut off the burn off a him. Them say me affi thank God if him make it because it’s 50-50 right now”
So far, Clarke, who works as a baby sitter, said she has depleted all her savings to buy medication and other necessities for her son. She is now depending on the kindness of family and friends to go on.
Similarly, Folkes said she, and the other occupants of the house will need all the assistance they can get. Her older daughter, as well as her 10-year-old sister, and 12 and 14-year-old brothers will need clothes and back to school supplies.
Persons wishing to assist those affected by the fire may contact Sade Folkes at 426-9271.