Kids traumatised by children's home fire

January 17, 2018
A firefighter is seen processing the scene.
Gladstone Taylor/ Photographer These toys are some of the few things that were saved after the fire.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) speaks with members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, while Member of Parliament Juliet Holness (right) looks on, during a visit to Walker's Place of Safety at Lyndhurst Crescent in St Andrew yesterday.
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Fire Brigade in dialogue while at the Walker's Place of Safety in January shortly after the fire that resulted in the deaths of two wards of the State.

While a counselling session was in progress at the Siloah Apostolic Church in Kingston for the 34 children who were rescued from the Walker's Place of Safety early Tuesday morning, Ayesha Nicholas, 36, sat among them trying to hold back the tears.

Nicholas, who has three children ages 10, 11 and 13 who were wards housed at the facility, said she is still in a state of shock to know that she could have lost her two sons and daughter in the fire that claimed the life of two girls, aged 12 and 16.

"Mi traumatise. Mi not even know weh fi say. All right now mi feel like mi traumatised, but mi can't show them that cause me haffi be strong fi dem," she told THE STAR as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

While she was concerned about her children's safety after hearing about the fire, she said that they will have to remain wards of the State as she has nowhere for them to live.

"Dem a go miss it (Walker's) cause mi nuh think dem a go nuh weh like deh so. Mi can't even call it a home cause it was more than dat. Mi call it dem day care," she said.




Floyd Green, state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, in a release yesterday, said the children and staff have been temporarily relocated to a nearby church.

Meanwhile, Damion, who lives beside the place of safety, said he was at home when he was awakened by a commotion and realised that the facility was on fire.

He said to prevent the fire from spreading to his house, he had to use two buckets of water to wet it.

"By time mi come out, mi see di fire a get outta hand, and di way the heat hot, wi couldn't even come a di side," he told THE STAR.

Afterwards, he said that he went to see how he could assist in getting the children out of the fire after hearing those that were already safely outside crying that their friend was still inside. But it was too late.

"When wi come out fi help di pickney dem, mi find out say nobody can't help dem (the two victims) again cause di fire done gone bad already," he explained.

However, Jeneva Gordon, public relations officer at the Child Development Agency, said there were two men in particular that assisted in knocking off a padlock and carrying some of the children to safety.

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