Help me, please! - Grandmother begs for assistance after fire destroys her goods

June 12, 2019
Firefighters at the scene of a blaze on Matthews Lane, Kingston.
Firefighters at the scene of a blaze on Matthews Lane, Kingston.
Andrea Gordon pleads for help after losing most of her belongings in a fire on Matthews Lane in downtown Kingston yesterday.
Andrea Gordon pleads for help after losing most of her belongings in a fire on Matthews Lane in downtown Kingston yesterday.
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At minutes after 2 a.m., Andrea Gordon was already awake and getting ready to start her day in downtown Kingston when she got a dreaded phone call that her stall had gone up in flames.

The building that stores the barrels her goods were in also went up in smoke.

The 56-year-old woman, who cares for her two children and granddaughter, could barely contain herself when she learnt of the fire at the Matthews Lane location.

Now, she is uncertain what her next step will be.

"She (granddaughter) nuh have no parents, so when me deh town a me haffi have her. Her father dead and her mother carefree. Mi nuh want her suffer. Me want she grow up to be a great teacher," she said.

Gordon, whose stall was burnt down two years ago while she was operating her business from the Redemption Arcade close by, said that she is even more determined to figure out how she will start over now that she is caring for her two-month-old granddaughter.

"A mi likkle livelihood mi have to take care of her (granddaughter). A she me a work towards yah now because a time fi me stop work yah now, but me haffi a do this for her. Mi just want a likkle start because me can use one and mek two, so that she can eat and mi other children can eat too," she said.

At her stall, Gordon sold clothes and food items. She said that she recently restocked to prepare for the graduation season. She is now appealing to the public for help so that she can restart her business.

"We have a barrel house weh we keep our stuff inna, and it engulf inna fire. We nuh have no compensation fi get from the fire. A just a likkle place we have to keep wi things dem safe and it gone. So mi just a ask for a likkle help because mi nuh want a whole heap a nothing. Mi know how to make two or three. From mi get one, mi OK. I am a mother, so I am just asking Jamaica for a little bit. It is like a pimento seed. Just one seed, that's all I'm asking Jamaica for," she said.

When the news team left the scene at 11:30 a.m. yesterday, firefighters were still at the location. Acting Senior Deputy Superintendent Horace Thomas, who is in charge of operations for the Kingston and St Andrew Division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, said his team received a call at 2:58 a.m. and units from the Trench Town and York Park fire stations responded to the blaze on Matthews Lane, downtown Kingston. It is said that the fire later spread to a warehouse on Princess Street. Other teams from the Stony Hill, Port Royal and Half-Way Tree fire stations also assisted with the operation.

Persons who would like to assist Andrea Gordon may contact her at 876-293-4213.