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VIDEO: Shocking deaths

Families mourn loss of teen, man struck by lightning

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Staff reporter
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

BALACLAVA, St Elizabeth — Lightning and tragedy struck in the deep rural community of Keynsham, just outside Balaclava on Wednesday, leaving two families devastated and residents in shock following the deaths of 14-year-old Ricardo Fisher and 30-year-old Sheldon Caine.

Residents say Ricardo and Caine were using bamboo sticks to pick avocados (pears) shortly before 2:00 pm when lightning struck, killing them both.

Farmer Andy Ennis, who narrowly escaped death and on whose property the tragedy unfolded, told the Jamaica Observer how Caine had returned for more avocados after picking from the tree a week earlier.

“Rain did a fall and it did kinda cool down likkle bit… Him [Caine] wave to I first. All last week him come and him did say him want more [pears], so him come back this week,” Ennis said.

Obviously traumatised, Ennis struggled to describe what happened.

“Mi deh there a pick and mi feel when mi hand go down pon the stick [at the point when the lightning struck]. Mi feel heat inna mi ears and the place look dark… Is like a thunder ball drop, because it dig out all the [water] tank and burn up the trees,” he recounted.

“Last night I don't sleep brethren, the whole night. Mi seh yesterday [Wednesday] I feel it so till when I see all the little youth deh here suh. The man dead, stiff and [burn], and him hand dem open up. Come in like the lightning lick him straight through [him body]. All him neck go over. Mi feel it bad,” Ennis said.

A crocus bag and more than three dozen avocados remained untouched at the scene up to yesterday morning.

There was weeping and screaming nearby, as Ricardo's grandmother Marvel Powell broke down as she spoke to the Observer on her verandah.

“Why me?” she asked repeatedly, as she spoke of her grandson's jovial personality.

“Him go Mile Gully [High] School and was to go grade nine. Him good-behaving, him nuh trouble nobody. Since the COVID [pandemic] him down here, because his mother working and she in Mandeville, and school lock. All when him likkle bit a yah him deh. Mandeville him born and grew up here, and go Balaclava school,” Powell said.

“Up to yesterday (Wednesday) morning him wash clothes and hang dem out. Him guh weh and come back and say, 'Grandma', and him touch mi up and nah leave mi alone,” she recounted.

Then there came the heartbreaking phone call that left her devastated.

“I couldn't move… him mother call mi and [then] mi call him phone and a voicemail mi get. Mi call the mother and she say, 'Mama, Ricardo dead', and mi buss out inna tears and mi nuh sleep last night,” she said.

Her husband, Clifton Powell, was distraught as he spoke of Caine, his nephew.

“Christmas him come down and all that and we were quite alright. I hear of people that lightning kill, but I never observe this before. A Clarendon him did live. His mother grew up here in this community,” he said.

According to Powell, Caine had also picked avocados earlier in the day at his home, and was warned of expected rain when he spoke of plans to pick more fruit.

“Him pick pear and him say to mi when him done and was in the car that him ago go get more pears, and mi show him the rain right round [overcast],” he said.

The grief spread across the community with residents expressing their shock. They spoke highly of the teenager.

“Him was a very quiet and humble little boy. Mi miss him. A nuh mi family but mi miss him. Him nuh pass mi nuh weh pon the road and nuh call to mi,” resident Linton Stewart said.

Another resident, Patricia Fisher, shared similar sentiments.

“I feel so sad, because of how I feel when I see that the two young men pass off and my son [Ennis] could have died. I feel so sad; Ricardo was a nice little boy. His grandmother is my good friend,” she said.