Boys rescued from oil pit, Mother wants compensation

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

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