Fruit vendor rescues woman from burning house

Fruit vendor rescues woman from burning house

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 30, 2020

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A fruit vendor in Allman Town, Kingston, is being hailed as a hero after he rescued a woman who was asleep while fire engulfed her home in the Kingston Gardens community yesterday evening.

Michael Henry was just about finished packing up his stall for the evening when the brother of the young woman, Jody-Ann Moncrieff, came running for help.

“Mi see the smoke coming from behind the restaurant so mi think a di chef inside a clean up. Then mi see a youth come and say is a house a burn down and him sister inside a sleep,” Henry told the Jamaica Observer.

Residents on the scene said they noticed smoke coming from the six-bedroom dwelling at approximately 5:30 pm.

Without hesitating, Henry ran into the house where he discovered Moncrieff, naked and crying out for help.

“When mi go inside a just smoke mi see. Mi could a barely see anything but mi hear she a scream 'help, help',” Henry related. “When mi look mi see her foot and mi hold on pon her hand. Is that time mi realise seh she naked and mi grab a towel and give her and lead her to the back because the fire start spread.”

He said by then, the fire had completely engulfed the front of the house, leaving the pair trapped near the back where the doors were locked.

Quick thinking led the 33-year-old Henry to kick one of the doors from it hinges, enabling him to lead Moncrieff out and over a wall.

“When we reach outside is a high wall mi see. But the fire escalate and wi end up jump over the wall,” Henry explained.

Moncrieff was too shaken to speak. However, a relative of who spoke with the Observer said the family is rejoicing that her life was saved.

“We are very grateful because if it wasn't for him we would probably be mourning right now,” said Thomas Gordon, Moncrieff's cousin, who had run to the scene from his home nearby, after hearing the Jamaica Fire Brigade siren.

District Officer Kevin Heslop from York Park Fire Station told the Observer that the cause of the blaze had not yet been ascertained, but the house was completely gutted.

“It was an incomplete six-bedroom house. When we arrived, it was completely engulfed. We had to get support from the Half-Way-Tree and Trench Town fire stations to put out the blaze,” Heslop said.

Damage has been estimated at $6 million, which is a big loss for the family of four who were close to completing their home. A mother and her three adult children are now homeless, Gordon said.

“To know where they are coming from and to see this happen is just very difficult. Is a long while now them a try build it up and the whole structure burn up,” he said.

The mother, who was at work when she received news that her house was on fire, had to be rushed from the scene to the hospital after she showed signs of a panic attack.

“She has high blood pressure and as mi say, is a long while they have been trying to build this house. So it is a very difficult time for them right now,” said Gordon.

Henry, in the meantime, said he is glad that he was still around to save the woman's life.

“I couldn't do anything else because I know it's a life. So mi just tie mi handkerchief round fi face and just move,” the young man said.


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