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