Hero residents shined during Love Lane fire

August 09, 2017
Jermaine Johnson looks at the remains of his home in Love Lane in Kingston which was gutted by the fire which destroyed several homes last Friday. Johnson, despite his losses, aided many other residents in saving items from their burning homes.
A section of the Love Lane fire that left about 100 people homeless last Friday.
Jasper Brown shows the damage to the roof of his home.
Owen Stewart, a resident of Love Lane who was affected by the fire, sorts through the rubble.

While the fire was raging on Love Lane last Friday afternoon, 13-year-old Shevar Smalling was busy alerting persons about the blaze and helping persons save their belongings.

"Dem send me out go buy something fi cook and when me come up here back me see people a look up the road and a say fire, and mi run come up here and me see dem put water pon deso," Smalling told THE STAR.

Smalling, who only moved to the area in January with his mothers, said he decided to help others because they were his neighbours.

"Mi kick off a door and me see say the fire deh in deh, so me run go out a door. Me run come out and me kick off a next door and call the owner for it and help him tek out him things. Then me go round a next house and me kick off the lock and mi see a woman weh sew inside and me tell her say 'fire'," he said.


Lost everything


Jermaine Johnson, 32, also displayed heroics.

"Me and the little boy tek out some things out a some people house," he said. Although he lost everything, Johnson said he took it up on himself to assist others.

"Me help who me can help cause all when yu a try save things, thief come in and tek yu thing so it neva easy," he said.

Johnson said when he realised that his children and other relatives were safely out of the fire, he turned his attention to helping others as "most a them people dem weh deh yaso no too have it."

He said he was trying to keep off the fire, while others called the fire brigade, but "when the cylinder buss, me haffi leave cause it get real hot."

Johnson is just one of the many who have to start from scratch. However, he said he is not sitting and waiting for handouts or going through the tedious processes of engaging institutions for assistance.

"Me alright, enuh. Mi plan fi hustle harder and mek back myself. A just me youth dem ya now. Dem affi gah family member yard. Me just tell miself say me a go run the road and buy weh me can buy," he said.

Meanwhile, other residents affected by the fire are struggling to pick up the pieces.

Uriah James, 76, said he has been forced to sit on an iron chair in a burnt out room to get some rest at nights, as the fire destroyed his home.

"Mi live ya fi over 50 years and all a mi documents, mi records and everything bun up," he said.

Another victim, Llewellyn Johnson, said: "A cardboard me a sleep pon and hang around same way. All a me clothes them burn up but me get a short pants from one a me cousin."

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