Elderly woman dies in Arnett Gardens fire

December 19, 2017
Neighbours and relatives of Sonia Daley, sift through the rubble after a fire claimed her life on Sunday in Arnett Gardens.
Residents look up at what used to be the top floor of the building.

Having to identify his mother by her burnt out skeleton remains was the hardest thing Nigel Anderson has done in the 40 years that he has spent on Earth.

"When the firemen called me and show me the body, not even a body but the bone dem, is the [shape of the] skull mek mi know that it was my mother," Anderson told THE STAR. "She and my brother head shape the same way. If my brother wasn't here then I would have to wonder is which one of them. It was the toughest ting mi ever do."

Anderson's mother, Sonia Daley, perished in a fire at her home on Mexico Circle, Arnett Gardens, Kingston 12 on Sunday.

The joint two storey house was completely destroyed by the fire. Looking up through the space where the top floor used to be, Anderson said that his neighbours suffered minor damages.

Anderson said that the house was not insured.

Senior deputy superintendent at York Park fire station, Pete Gooden, told THE STAR that the origin of the fire has not yet been determined.

"We are still working through some of the information that we got yesterday [Sunday]," Gooden said.

A bystander, Orett Robinson, said that around 5 p.m. on Sunday he was standing on the street when a little toddler beckoned to him saying that a fire was in the house.

"Mi go in there and mi start throw water and a ask for help but the fire did get big," Robinson said.

Anderson said that before he identified that the remains were those of his 66-year-old mother, he was hoping that she was not in the building and had gone to church like she usually does on a Sunday evening.

"When mi reach mi did a hope that she did gone a church but after we check and mi see the skull mi realise say a she," Anderson said, as he sorted through rubbles at the burnt-out building where six other family members lived.

He said his sister and the other occupants of the building weren't home at the time of the incident.

"She go pon a church trip Saturday so it look like she really tired. Is das why she did upstairs a sleep," Anderson said.

Anderson said that his only hope now is that his mother died quickly and never suffered through the ordeal.

"Mi just hope that she never did a bawl fi help and nobody never did a help, or she there and the fire a burn her and she can't do nothing about it. That's all mi hope for," Anderson.

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