The mother of two boys rescued from an oil pit in Point Fortin last week wants compensation and proper medical care for her children and her husband.
Speaking from their Egypt Village, Point Fortin home yesterday, Fredricka Hodge was fearful the incident would eventually be swept under the carpet.
“My worst fear is that they just brush it under the rug and they don’t do anything to help the children properly. And that if something happens to my children later down the line and I can't help them because medically I am not able to,” she said.
She said Heritage Petroleum Company Limited has offered to pay for them to receive private medical care if they do not receive treatment through the public hospital.
The mother says her sons Adeil Cyrus,12, and Darold Clarke, 14, and her husband, Kenneth Small, 64, are still undergoing medical tests and on Wednesday they have an appointment with a dermatologist.
However, she said: “If the medical examinations come back good, I would like for them to get tested again six months from now, a year from now, because you know chemicals. Because they are young and might be healthy it mightn’t show now but it may show up later on, and I might not be in a position to help them.”
She believes the ordeal had a psychological effect on the children.
Recalling last Thursday’s incident, Cyrus said he was chasing a kite when he tripped and fell into the pit.
“I start panicking and sinking faster, and then my two cousins went and call my mother,” he said.
He recalled that only his face and one arm were not covered in the oil. Clarke jumped in after him and also got stuck. Clarke said he held his up his brother's head until help arrived.
Small, a Petrotrin retiree, also got stuck when he tried to help them.
“I was feeling as though I was going to die and then after the people come and get me out,” said Cyrus.
The mother was disappointed that the Point Fortin District and San Fernando General Hospitals were not equipped to deal with the situation.
Hodge said she had to purchase diesel, pitch oil, unleaded gas, and Dawn detergent which they used to scrub their bodies at the hospitals. Small said it took a long time for them to remove the oil from their bodies.
"It was burning us," he recalled. The boys also suffered minor burns from the chemicals.
Hodge is calling for compensation for her husband and sons.
“Because there (the area) supposed to be fenced off,” she said.
The boys will not return to school until they get a clean bill of health. The family is contemplating legal action.
Reporter: Sascha Wilson