Holding on to hope ... Man worried for wife, daughter badly injured in Mandeville gas station explosion
Mandeville, Manchester :
Hope is the only thing keeping Errol Wisdom going these days. His wife and daughter were seriously injured in the major explosion at the Heaven’s FESCO Service Station in Mandeville, Manchester, last month, and he is feverishly praying that they will soon recover and return home from the hospital.
Wisdom said his 17-year-old daughter, a student of a prominent high school in the parish, and his wife, a teacher, had just left school and stopped for gas on Friday, February 21, when they were caught in the blast that badly damaged the service station, killing one person and destroying several vehicles.
“The car completely burnt out, not even the key was saved. My daughter schoolwork, everything burn up and she is supposed to graduate this year. I don’t know if she will get to do her exams, I don’t know how things will go,” the distraught father lamented to The Sunday Gleaner.
He said that his daughter suffered severe burns to her back, arms, leg, and face, while his wife had burns on her back and neck.
‘Me just have to fight it’
“The doctors are saying they don’t know when they will come out. Me just have to fight it and gwaan because a my own them. I don’t have it, but I have to take care of them same way. I have to be at the hospital three times per day. When I visit in the morning, I can’t even go home because I can’t afford to travel like that every day. I just have to stay until visiting hours again,” he said.
On Thursday, Wisdom was among the gathering at a brief worship session at the damaged service station, spearheaded by the gospel choir, Shahaye, from the Northern Caribbean University. Also in attendance were FESCO business partners, employees, parish stakeholders and well-wishers.
Co-owner and operator of the service station, Trevor Heaven, said that the victims of the fire are foremost on his mind.
“We cannot and should not forget those who have suffered. With the best of intentions, this really ought not to have happened, but it did, and we cannot question the actions of the Great One up above. We had some injuries and we still have some people in the hospital, but we have to recognise the suffering that they and their families must be going through,” Heaven said.
Fifty-nine-year-old Daniel Farquharson, who died as a result of the tragedy, has been Heaven’s biggest loss.
“He was a man who has been here with us through thick and thin, has helped us in more ways than one, a man who is ready to come and give his support to us at this location. The greatest tragedy is not the fire, not the destruction, but the pain in my heart rest with the family of Daniel Farquharson,” he stated.
All the owners declined to comment when The Sunday Gleaner asked if assistance will be given to the victims, noting that that was a discussion that ought to be had with the victims, not the public.
Member of Parliament for North West Manchester Mikael Phillips urged citizens to use the ordeal as a lesson.
“It is good to see the love and camaraderie from the wider community. I am sure that is what has given them (the Heavens) the strength to rise from the ashes. This is a lesson for all of us that we should be our brothers’ keepers, to heed the caution, when we do get those cautions. I hope that the wider Jamaica learns from this lesson, as it could have been worse,” Phillips stated.
Investigations into the cause of the calamity are ongoing, even as the owners have begun repairs to the property.