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Have we learnt from deadly fires?

Published:Tuesday | May 15, 2012 | 12:00 AM


In this the golden jubilee of Jamaica's Independence, I pause to reflect on two significant fires which form a part of the historical events in the post-Independence era of our nation - the fire at Eventide Home in Kingston on May 20, 1980, which claimed the lives of more than 150 indigent and mentally challenged adults and children, and that on May 24, 2009 in which five juveniles at the Armadale Correctional Centre perished in a blaze, and two succumbing in hospital.

The month of May, which is observed as Child Month in Jamaica, is also noted for the demise of children in fires. Of my recent memories are the two boys who, along with their mother, perished in a fire at their home in Shanty Lane, Little London, Westmoreland, on May 22, 2011. There is also the case of a toddler at Barclay Close in Savanna-la-Mar on March 19, 2012. Not to be forgotten also is the near-miss of children being killed in the fire which occurred at Glenhope Place of Safety on November 24, 2011.

As a nation, what lessons have we learnt?


Senior Deputy Superintendent

Savanna-la-Mar Fire Station