Boy, 11, tries to save burning house

While most chil­dren would scream and run away from the sight of fire con­sum­ing their home, 11-year-old Jarell King was con­vinced that he could have saved his fam­i­ly’s house in Sobo Vil­lage, La Brea on Tues­day.

Jar­rel, the el­dest of Ly­dia and Ger­ard King’s three chil­dren, had al­ready start­ed fill­ing a buck­et of wa­ter when he alert­ed his grand­moth­er Nell Hen­ry about the fire which ig­nit­ed in his par­ent’s bed­room.

But in­stead of risk­ing the lives of her and her grand­chil­dren, Hen­ry ush­ered Jarell, his broth­er Jay­don, six and Je­nay, four, out of the house and called for help.

The fire spread­ing through­out the house in mere min­utes and the fam­i­ly of five was left with on­ly the clothes on their backs and the wor­ry of re­cov­er­ing from their loss.

Ly­dia, Ger­ard and their cousin Lyn­don Garvin, who were at work when the blaze be­gan, all re­turned home in a rush, on­ly to find ru­ins of their home.

Ac­cord­ing to Hen­ry’s daugh­ter, Nel­liene Hen­ry, the house was a fam­i­ly home where her moth­er and oth­er rel­a­tives grew up. How­ev­er, they moved out some time ago.

Her moth­er runs the par­lour in front of the house and would take care of the chil­dren when they re­turn home from school. Nel­liene said that it was around 3.50 pm and the chil­dren had just re­turned from school when Hen­ry sent them in­side the house to change their clothes and re­turn to the par­lour to get some­thing to eat.

Jar­rel went in­to the par­lour but was sent back to the house to re­trieve his younger sib­lings when he no­ticed that his par­ents’ bed was on fire. Jar­rel called out to his grand­moth­er, who ran in­side and saw the bed­room ablaze.

“Mom­my ran in­side and all she saw was light in the bed­room. She took off the main break­er and tried to get the chil­dren out. Jarell was con­vinced he could have put out the fire and he had a buck­et fill­ing with wa­ter. But she took them out. By the time she ran to­ward the liv­ing room, the glass on the win­dows start­ed to shat­ter and the ceil­ing start­ed com­ing down. She ran in the road and start­ed to bawl for help,” Nel­liene said.

Neigh­bours, even those whom the fam­i­ly were not close with, rushed in­to the road and formed a buck­et brigade in an ef­fort to ex­tin­guish the fire.

But the wood­en and con­crete struc­ture was al­ready con­sumed and the fire start­ed to spread to Hen­ry’s par­lour. The vol­un­teers turned their at­ten­tion to the par­lour and had to pull down part of the burn­ing roof on the house for a suc­cess­ful save. By the time Point Fortin fire­fight­ers ar­rived 30 min­utes lat­er, the house was al­ready de­stroyed.

Garvin said his boss called him short­ly af­ter 4 pm to in­form him of the fire at his home. By the time he got home, there was on­ly rub­ble.

He said the fam­i­ly was try­ing to build the ground floor of the house be­fore the fire, but is now hop­ing to re­con­struct the home he knew since child­hood.

“I was shocked when I reach home. Every­thing was gone in less than 30 min­utes,” Garvin said. Fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cers re­turned to the scene yes­ter­day in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cause of the fire, but rel­a­tives sus­pect it was caused by an elec­tri­cal mal­func­tion.

The fam­i­ly was not able to save any­thing and was left with on­ly the clothes on their backs.

Jar­rel, a pupil of the Vance Riv­er RC Pri­ma­ry School, is ex­pect­ed to write the Sec­ondary En­trance As­sess­ment in March and along with his broth­er, has lost school uni­forms and books.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment coun­cil­lor for Brighton/Ves­signy Ger­ald Debe­sette said through the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion, the fam­i­ly was giv­en forms to fill out, which to­geth­er with a re­port from the Fire Ser­vice, they can take to the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices to ac­cess cloth­ing and a grant pur­chase house­hold items.

Debe­sette said the Na­tion­al Com­mis­sion for Self Help can al­so grant be­tween $15,000-$25,000 to­wards re­build­ing their home. He said that he con­tact­ed La Brea MP Nicole Olivierre and her of­fice is ex­pect­ed to as­sist the chil­dren with the re­place­ment of their school books and uni­forms.

- by Kevon Felmine

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