Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Hero emerges from New Year’s ashes ... Fire leaves Fletcher’s Land residents homeless, woman missing

Published:Sunday | January 5, 2020 | 12:55 AMJason Cross - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Cassandra Hudson at her home that was consumed by fire on New Year’s night.
Photos by Jason CrossProperty salvaged from the New Year’s fire in Fletcher’s Land, Kingston.

Cassandra Hudson was comfortably tucked in bed on New Year’s night, at her 152 Church Street, Fletcher’s Land home in Kingston, when her fan suddenly went out, and quickly after, she heard shouts of “Fire! Fire! Fire!” from a resident inside the tenement yard.

One woman, who was believed to be inside the building at the time of the fire, cannot be located and relatives are frantic. Firefighters and residents searched the rubble for her, but to no avail. A man and his 60-year-old mother, who escaped death, were admitted at hospital with burns.

Fire units from York Park and two other fire stations contained the blaze which started around 11 p.m.

On Friday night, The Sunday Gleaner visited Hudson at the premises and she shared how January 1, 2020 started with her treating herself and ended with her in tears and homeless.

“Wednesday, I got up around 5 a.m. and did regular chores and told my sister I felt ‘rum cream-ish’, so around 2 p.m. I went around the road and bought two rum creams. I came back home and drank them. My sister asked if I wanted food, I said yes, but decided to put it up for breakfast. I went to bed around 7 p.m. At some point, the fan went out and I can’t sleep without fan.”

Hudson said, however, that she did manage to go back to sleep briefly after waking up to the fan shutting off, only to hear the shouts of alarm.

“So, I grabbed up RJ (four-year-old Ryan James), my foster baby who was sleeping, plus my phone, and I rushed out and gave him to my sister at the gate. I couldn’t go back in the house because a pure fire.”


While everyone saw about exiting the building, Hudson recalled that one of the residents at the premises, Rodney, had to rush inside the two-storey building to save his 60-year-old mother, who lived upstairs at the wooden and concrete structure. He managed to save her, but Rodney, the community videographer and photographer, lost all his equipment.

Rodney’s ears, neck, and arms were damaged by the fire, while his mother sustained injury to her head, face and feet.

“He went inside to take out his mother. He came out and gave her to a man who had to drop her because an electric wire was about to wrap both of them. It was really awful. I helped to put her in the vehicle. I heard someone shout, ‘Where Odette is?’ Up to now we can’t find her. Dem dig it out and look. We even put her up on Facebook asking for help to find her.”

About 10 persons lived at the premises, three of them children.

“Two of the children who live here were not here at the time. I spoke to the three-year-old and she said, ‘Aunty, mi a come help you, you hear.’ When they come home, this is what they will see. RJ shoes burn up and everything gone. Uniform and everything. I try to stay strong for the baby boy. I haven’t slept. I have just been drinking Arizona. What RJ said to me was, ‘Mi going over Elaine, but where you going to sleep? Me see you a cry last night, but hush you hear. Don’t cry’.”

Hudson said that with everything that happened, she considered Rodney a hero.

“Is not every pickney nowadays a go run through blazing fire for their parents. He took his mother out of the blazing fire. Rodney camera thing dem burn up,” she said, adding that she would recommend him for a national award for gallantry.