A senior police officer who was at the scene of Monday’s fire in Maraval where three young children lost their lives, says he saw what appeared to him as ‘a demon’s face’ in the fire.
Police Inspector Dirk John sustained injuries during the rescue of two siblings at the burning house at Rookery Nook in Maraval.
John recalled that at about 7.30 am on Monday, he and his colleagues responded to the fire call and said that when they got there, the screams of children from within the home engulfed in flames were “loud and piercing.”
“We, together with strangers, tried our best to rescue those kids. We kicked that steel door. We pounded that steel door with everything imaginable. It proved futile,” John said in a post on social media.
He disclosed that he had seen the face of death many times in his life and career, but added that the hand of death on Monday was so cruel “to take three children in that way.”
“I stared at that fire and saw a demon’s face. May God grant those children peace and everlasting life. May their parents be consoled. May the men and women who tried to save them be consoled. This one rocked me,” he added.
In another post, John said, “Saving those children were all on our minds. We were prepared to risk all we had. All our efforts were to break down that steel door keeping us from those little souls screaming and crying; their voices in the flames. It seemed like hours passed by as we pounded and pounded that door. I shouted many times.”
The security officer who works at the RBC Royal Bank car park adjacent to the house, yesterday told the Guardian Media he felt a terrible loss deep inside of him for the children who died.
“Coming to work this morning (yesterday) was a whole different change to me. The little boy I used to call him Spiderman because he used to climb up on the burglar proofing waiting on me to say hi and to ask him if he’s good and I will ask him if his brothers and sisters good too.
“Even the big brother would tell me when he’s leaving for school and let me know when he’s back from school. I have children of my own yet I treated them as though they were my own,” the guard said, asking not to be named.
“I will try to remember them as the happy children not as what I saw on the day of their death,” he added.
Asked how he was doing mentally and emotionally after the terrible ordeal, he said better than he expected because he strongly believed God has his back.
“I went home and was in pain because of scorch burns to my back and shoulders. I played my worship songs, prayed, cleaned my apartment and went and sleep. I slept like a baby only because of God being there with and for me. I am a praying person and it won’t affect me. Every morning, I ask God to cover me and will ask God to take charge of my day,” the officer added.
Yesterday, Acting Divisional Fire Officer Peter Griffith said there needs to be a change in behaviour of citizens in terms of “what do we do for safety in case of a fire.”
Griffith said only through training one can know how to deal with a fire emergency.
“You must understand that hot air rises, so you have to go down flat on the ground and know where the basic exit points are so one could immediately effect their way out. There are circumstances where probably the exits may be compromised,” he said.
“An evacuation plan is something specific to each householder and it must be practised. Having it and not practising it comes like if it’s null and void.
Practice your evacuation plan in the day and also practice in the night, because there are certain psychological factors involved in how you execute that plan. Fire is no respecter of anyone and we have to be vigilant.”
Griffith also urged people to sacrifice $120 to $200 to have smoke detectors installed in their homes.
Chief Fire Officer Arnold Bristow yesterday said investigations were still ongoing and he might receive an interim report today.