Sando councillor saves elderly man from burning house

A San Fer­nan­do coun­cil­lor is be­ing hailed as a hero af­ter she res­cued an el­der­ly man from a burn­ing house yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Evans Williams, 84, of Bal­dovan Ter­race, Co­coyea Vil­lage, suf­fered se­ri­ous burns about his legs and was be­ing treat­ed at the San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal last evening.

When the fire broke out around 2.30 pm, Tere­sa Lynch, the Peo­ples Na­tion­al Move­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Co­coyea/Tarou­ba was at the Co­coyea Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­tre, about four hous­es away from Williams’ home.

She im­me­di­ate­ly be­gan run­ning to­wards the burn­ing house.

Lynch re­called: “I nor­mal­ly hold of­fice on a Tues­day for the pub­lic. While I was at the of­fice, a res­i­dent came say­ing that Mr Evans house on fire, Mr Evans house on fire. So I know Mr Evans, par­tic­u­lar­ly be­cause for Christ­mas I will give him a Christ­mas ham­per. He lives alone.”

As she was head­ing out the door, she in­struct­ed her sec­re­tary to call the po­lice, Fire Ser­vice, dis­as­ter man­age­ment, the MP and oth­er per­sons.

While run­ning, she stopped a pass­ing car with two men and asked for their help. She saw the wood­en area to the back of the house ablaze.

“The gate was locked so two (she and one of the men) of us jumped over the gate.” she said. She fell and suf­fered bruis­es to her knees and toes.

When they ran up the steps, the front door was open. She saw fire in the house, but not in the liv­ing room area where they found him. “He was on the floor in the liv­ing room se­mi-con­scious, out of it. He was on his bel­ly. He was burnt bad­ly on his legs. So we picked him up and ran down­stairs and by the time we reached down­stairs the oth­er gen­tle­man who was dri­ving the car, he came and they raised him over the fence.” She said the fire ser­vices ar­rived in about eight min­utes.

“He was con­scious when we took him down the stairs. He was re­spond­ing.”

Lynch said the fire spread quick­ly and with­in five min­utes the up­per area of the house, in­clud­ing where they found Williams, was en­gulfed in flames.

“We start­ed to hear like an alarm. No one knew where that sound was com­ing from. The en­tire street was smoke, my of­fice was smoke so you could not breathe prop­er­ly. So it lit­er­al­ly hap­pened with­in min­utes.”

Af­ter the am­bu­lance left with Williams, Lynch just changed her top and head­ed across to the Co­coyea Gov­ern­ment Pri­ma­ry School for the launch of a nu­mer­a­cy and lit­er­a­cy pro­gramme host­ed her of­fice and the Uni­ver­si­ty of T&T.

She be­lieves they saved his life as none of the neigh­bours clos­est to his house was at home. Lynch, how­ev­er, was not shak­en by the in­ci­dent. “It was nice. It took a lot of quick ac­tion and quick thought. I am very ac­tive and I have that killer in­stinct I guess. If we had not act­ed when we did I be­lieve he would have died.”

In a brief in­ter­view be­fore his phone bat­tery dis­charged, Williams’ son Kern said his fa­ther was do­ing well.

Fire of­fi­cers said the house was par­tial­ly de­stroyed, but the roof had the most dam­age. Fire­fight­ers of the Mon Re­pos Fire Sta­tion and Mon Re­pos po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

- by Sascha Wilson. Photo by Kristian De Silva

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