Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 30th 2014 Contents JENSEN LA VENDE
Residents of Production Drive, Sea Lots,
believe the life of three-year-old Javier De
Freitas could have been saved had the Fire
Services responded promptly instead of
insisting they needed police protection
because the community was deemed a
De Freitas died in a blaze that completely
destroyed his home Wednesday night but
residents, who formed a bucket brigade but
fought in vain to save him and the house,
blamed firefighters for his death.
Speaking with the media yesterday, the
residents' spokesman, who identified himself
only as Andy, dismissed the firefighters' rea-
son for not dispatching appliances to the
scene as soon as they got the report.
"Down here is a hotspot? When was the
last time someone got killed here?" a visibly
upset Andy asked.
"Who contained the fire? Is the same
people in the village. This is pure neglect.
That hurting the village. No government not
helping... they only want publicity. This is
a serious time. If the villagers wasn't vigilant
more people would have died."
Andy told the media around 11 pm he
heard a sound and then saw fire in the roof
of Bernadine Hepburn's home. By the time
he raced to the house, he said, she and her
children were outside and had told neigh-
bours everyone was safely outside.
He said two minutes later, while neigh-
bours were using a bucket brigade to douse
the flames, a head count was done and they
realised Javier was missing.
Andy said he and others had to restrain
one of Hepburn's sons from racing back into
the burning building to save his asthmatic
Hepburn, 41, who did all she could to save
herself and her 13 children, was yesterday
still blaming herself for Javier's death.
She said she and her children, ranging in
ages from 11 months to 22 years, were asleep
when the fire began. She said her son was
sleeping on a bottom bunk bed and everyone
thought they all had made it out safely before
the fire, since each child was awakened.
Hepburn, who works at Church's Chicken,
Glencoe, recalled that around 11 pm she was
asleep when she heard a crackling sound
and then saw smoke and fire in the roof of
her wooden home.
"I lost everything," she said, crying. "The
fire service took two hours to come. Every-
"I find I could have done more. I take up
the children. I have older sons---22, 19, 17,
15---all were asleep and with the heat and
the smoke we just rush outside. The neigh-
bours came in, break down the door and
form a bucket brigade and put out the fire
before the fire service reach."
She said by the time fire officers arrived
they had nothing to do because the house
had already been completely destroyed, the
fire extinguished and her child was dead.
"I don't have a clue what I going to do
and go now," Hepburn said.
The autopsy report by pathologist Dr
Valery Alexandrov yesterday showed Javier
died of smoke and soot inhalation.
Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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With the killing of
two men in Diego
Martin and San Juan
on Wednesday night,
the murder toll has
now reached 183 for
the year. The corre-
sponding figure last
year was 154.
In the first incident,
police said 29-year-old
Kevin Joseph, of North
West Drive, Patna Vil-
lage, Diego Martin, was
liming with friends near
the Patna Village Recreation Ground around 10.30
pm when they were approached by five men, all
dressed in black.
They reportedly told the friends "allyuh go dead
tonight," before opening fire. The attackers then
Joseph died at the scene. His friends---Adrian
James, 27, and Jerrol Ottley, 21---were rushed to
hospital with gunshot wounds. They remained
warded in a serious condition at the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital last night.
Police from the Western Division and the Homi-
cide Bureau---including ASP Patterson, Insp Thomas,
Sgt Perry and Cpl Beckles---visited the scene.
Joseph's father, Lincoln Mc Millan, said yesterday
his son was killed because of the company he kept.
Mc Millan, who spoke to the media at the Forensic
Science Centre, St James, said his son did upholstery
for a living and was the father of a six-year-old
He recalled hearing gunshots while watching his
favourite programme, Crime Watch, and said when
Joseph's mother tried to reach him his cellphone
went unanswered. Some time later, one of Joseph's
friends called to say he had been killed.
About an hour later, Josiah St Hill, 19, was hit
by a stray bullet on his way home from church.
A Spiritual Baptist who worked as a security offi-
cer, St Hill was walking along JoJo Lane, San Juan,
when he was shot in the back as two warring gangs
were shooting at each other, police said.
Relatives of St Hill said doctors at the Eric
Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, told
them he had bled to death within minutes of being
shot. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the
hospital. ---Jensen La Vende
Friday, May 30, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
dies in blaze
In response to the residents'
complaints yesterday, Chief Fire Officer
Nayar Rampersad said in a phone
interview his men were at another fire in
Tunapuna when they received the call.
He acknowledged that crime had
negatively affected some communities
and said whenever his officers were
threatened they sought the assistance
of the police.
He denied, though, that was the case
on Wednesday, saying: "Where life and
limb is at risk we will respond and not
put that the area is a hotspot as a front
not to do so."
Fire service: we were busy
Police: No policy in place
toll now 183
Mom miscounts rescued children during fire
A photographer takes a picture of the charred bedframe on which three-year-old Javier de
Freitas died following a fire on Wednesday night which destroyed his family home at Sea
Lots, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
Contacted for a comment yesterday on the
Police Service escorting firefighters into crime-
riddled areas, public information officer ASP
Joanne Archie said no policy existed.
She added that from time-to-time police were
asked for protection in certain places but believed
that in emergency cases certain initiatives would
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