Sun | Mar 7, 2021

Family gets new home after tragic fire kills 5-y-o

Published:Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12:11 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

The tears of sorrow that flowed two months ago when fire razed their home, killing five-year-old DeAndre ‘Jaydon’ Peterkin, were replaced with tears of joy on Wednesday when a St James family was given the keys to their newly rebuilt home at the same location in New Road, Flankers.

The reconstruction was the fruit of a collaborative effort between Jamaica Relief Ministries (JRM) and Embracing Orphans, an overseas-based non-profit organisation.

Jaydon’s aunt and guardian, Nickeisha Peterkin, and her 16-year-old daughter, Dejanae Cormack, were grateful for the new home, albeit harbouring some grief over the tragic events that led to them becoming homeless and losing young Jaydon.

“I feel overwhelmed and just giving God thanks. I’m really grateful for Embracing Orphans, CPFSA (the Child Protection and Family Services Agency), and JRM,” said the grateful aunt. “Words can’t explain how I feel because although I’m joyful for this, I feel sad where a life had to be taken. The only thing left now is to see Jaydon buried.”

Dejanae was also thankful for the gift of a new home.

Carl Robanske, director of Embracing Orphans, who helped in the construction, said it was a worthwhile project, especially as he listened to the stories about Jaydon, who was trapped inside the burning building.

“It was a unique couple of days … . It’s more than just building a house; it’s going through a bit of trauma and grief. Today was a great day for all of us,” said Robanske.

CPFSA social worker Marjon McPherson was pleased that the family will no longer have to be moving from house to house.

“When I first came here, it was a flat surface, just the charred items. I came back today and I see such a beautiful home,” she said.

JRM Outreach Manager Carl Hochstetler says he wants the house to be like a place of healing after the traumatic experience.

“This project is particularly special for us because of the loss and tragedy – how everything came together with the community and everyone pitching in to help and also the timing and funding. So it feels really good for us to be able to build the house,” said Hochstetler.