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Stabroek News

Mother's Day joy goes up in smoke
published: Monday | May 14, 2007


Jerome Kelly, one of several residents who were left homeless after a fire on Shortwood Road, Kingston 8, shows the extensive damage to a Gleaner news team.

Mark Beckford, Gleaner Writer

WHILE MANY moms took a break from the kitchen and were treated to Sunday brunch, yesterday's Mother's Day celebrations left a bitter taste in the mouth of Bena Morris, victim of a fire which ravaged five houses, leaving her and 11 others homeless, and one man dead.

"I don't feel no enjoyment on this day ... I lose everything for myself and my baby," said Morris as she sat under a tree spared by the fire which scarred everything else in the yard located at Shortwood Road in Kingston 8.

Burnt furniture, zinc, appliances, books and soot showed evidence of the tragic event that occurred two nights before.

Only left with hope

Bowing her head while talking, a subdued Morris said she was sleeping with her four-year-old son on Friday night when she felt the heat from the fire. "Everybody was sleeping. I was sleeping in the house with my child and I feel the heat, and to tell you the truth, I didn't know what to do; I just grab up my baby and run."

For Morris, who was unable to salvage anything, all that's left is hope.

Gloria Sutherland is another mother who was affected by the fire. Thoughts of Mother's Day, however, were replaced by the anguish that she too had lost everything in the fire.

"From yesterday (Saturday) till now me a cry; every time me think about it me start to cry. Mi no have nothing; all mi clothes, pot, everything gone. Mi nuh know what me ago do or where me a guh guh, " she said.

The elderly woman rues having to start over again. "All me now, I cannot get any work at my age. I really hope that we get some help from the Government or my Member of Parliament."

Still waiting for clean-up crew

The residents had received some donations from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and a caring citizen. They claimed that Member of Parliament for the constituency, Delroy Chuck, had promised to send a truck to help in the clean-up, but up to yesterday evening, burnt rubble and zinc were still seen at the site.

Jerome Kelly, who allegedly caused the fire when he left a candle unattended, is, however, hoping for redemption. Scarred by burn wounds, Kelly said he regretted the turn of events, especially the death of his brother, Paul Williams, 38.

"It really sad what happened to me brother, but me just haffi try and make it you know, can't give up," said Kelly.


Sorrow sinks in after deadly Shortwood fire


Gloria Sutherland.

Mark Beckford, Gleaner Writer

WHILE MILLIONS of moms around the world celebrated Mother's Day, Gloria Sutherland was reflecting on the scorching memories of a fire on Shortwood Road, St. Andrew, which razed five houses leaving her and 11 others homeless.

The fire also claimed the life of Sutherland's neighbour, 38-year-old Paul Williams.

"From yesterday (Saturday) till now, me a cry," she said, sitting under a tree in deep desperation.

"Every time me think about it, me start to cry. Me no have nothing; all me clothes, pot, everything gone. Me nuh know what me a guh do or where me a guh guh," she said.

In a cracked voice, the elderly woman tried to make an even more profound statement: "All me now, I cannot get any work at my age. I really hope that we get some help from the Government or my Member of Parliament."

Bena Morris, the mother of a four-year-old boy, was also among the fire victims.

"I don't feel no enjoyment on this day," she said. "I lose everything for myself and my baby."

Morris said she was sleeping with her son on Friday night when shefelt a sweltering heat. When she opened her eyes, she realised that the building was on fire.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't know what to do; I just grab up my baby and run," she exclaimed.

She, too, lost everything and she is not quite sure of what the future holds, but she is hoping for the best.

Jerome Kelly, who allegedly caused the fire when he left a candle unattended, is depressed by the turn of events, especially given that his brother, Williams, was a casualty.

However, he is fighting to channel his energy into the rebuilding process.

"It really sad what happened to mi brother, but mi just haffi try and make it, yuh nuh, mi can't give up," said Kelly, with burn wounds still obvious on his shoulders, arms and back.

In the meantime, he has started to remove debris from the site.

The affected residents have so far received some donations from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and a caring citizen.

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