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VIDEO: Boy, 9, rescues two-year-old brother from house fire

Zoevaughn Reid a hero despite pain caused by inferno

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Staff reporter
williamsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 20, 2020

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — For nine-year-old Zoevaughn Reid the safety of his brother, aged two, took primacy as he, his mother and sister, now four, hurriedly escaped fire at their house in Hatfield near here, last Tuesday afternoon.

It was Zoevaughn who had first raised the alarm which led to family members fleeing the house. This was after he smelled smoke shortly before 2:00 pm.

His mother, Zana Mullings, told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday of her overwhelming relief and shock, having reached safety outside the burning house to find her two-year-old child safe and sound, even as she realised she had exited without him.

In fact, it was Zoevaughn, keeping his head as others panicked, who picked up the sleeping child and took him from the burning bedroom occupied by him, his siblings and mother.

“Glad and happy”, were the words Zeovaughn used to describe his state of mind in response to questions about his quick thinking.

Mullings related how Zoevaughn's attentiveness led to her and his two younger siblings escaping the fire as it engulfed a three-bedroom house that was also home for three other adults and another child.

“We were lying down on the bed and he got up and said he smelled smoke. I told him to go and look in the kitchen, because we didn't see any smoke coming from in the room. When he went to the kitchen he said 'mommy there is nothing in the kitchen burning'. He then went between the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom and said, 'mommy I smell the smoke right here',” Mullings said.

She then saw smoke coming from another bedroom and alerted her children to run to safety. There was no one in the room at the time.

“… I noticed that there was smoke coming from a next tenant's room. When I saw the smoke, I said to the kids run, fire!”

“When I went outside, I started to check if all the kids were there. He [two-year-old] was sleeping at the time, but when I looked, I saw that all three were there, so I'm like 'how the baby reached outside and I didn't bring him…?' He [Zoevaughn] was the one that lifted up the baby,” she said.

According to Mullings, the fire spread quickly as there was no time to save anything from inside the house.

“… To how the fire was moving so rapid I couldn't even go inside for my purse, so if the baby was inside, I don't know how I could go inside to how fast the fire was moving for the baby…. I don't save anything,” she stressed.

She is, however, grateful that no life was lost as she now looks to start life over again.

“I am very grateful that our lives were spared, so that is the greatest thing. But it is not easy, because I lost everything, every single thing… Anything that can help us out would be greatly appreciated,” she said.

She has since managed to get temporary accommodation, which she said, isn't the best, due to a leaking roof.

Mullings is asking anyone who can assist her and her children to contact her at (876) 860-9824.

Another fire victim, Anthony Watson is also pleading for assistance after he lost all his belongings.

“I am devastated right now. I have to just keep my mind active to just go through this, because it is terrible,” Watson said.

He can be reached at (876) 425-4310.

Efforts to get details from the Manchester Fire Department regarding the estimated loss and cause of the fire were unsuccessful.