A teen from the Kilmarnock District in St. Elizabeth is being hailed as a hero after running inside a burning building to rescue an elderly man with a physical disability.
The youngster is 18-year-old Aldain Daley, who, on May 17 of this year, ran into the burning home of Vernon Sewell, an 86-year-old retired farmer, after the senior citizen reportedly left his gas stove on by accident.
Young Aldain was hanging out with friends at a section of the community when they spotted smoke coming from the Mr. Sewell’s home, located on a nearby hill.
“So, same time I turned to my friends and say, we can’t be here so and make the man burn up. After that I ran off, ran down the hill and ran up here so, and when I look the fire was blazing inside,” the teen tells JIS News.
The youngster began calling out to Mr. Sewell, who was nowhere to be seen as the fire continued to spread. However, moments later, the young man spotted the elderly man barely making his way on to the veranda through a plume of smoke.
He was desperately calling out for help as he lived alone, and due to his disability, moved very slowly.
“So, I ran up the stairs and reached the veranda. A blockage was there and I had to kick it away. I call to him and it was like him can’t come. So, I go there and a try lead him and he still can’t move. So, I ended up having to lift him up in my hands and carry him go out on the step,” Aldain explains.
It was at this point two of young Aldain’s friends arrived on the scene to render some assistance. Working together, they brought Mr. Sewell down from the hill and away from the fire that by then had completely engulfed the building.
A crowd soon began to converge at the scene and emergency services were called for help.
Mr. Sewell reportedly sustained minor burns across 20 per cent of his body, to include his face. He was transported to the Black River Hospital where he currently remains in stable condition.
“He would not be alive today from my observation. If we were like three or four more minutes late, he would burn up, but luckily he got saved and I’m glad that nothing severe do him,” Aldain says.
“Though, to tell you the truth, I don’t know where that braveness came from that day. It just appeared and I did what was right. Also, growing up knowing Maas Vernon, him did kind to me and stuff, so I couldn’t be at a close range where I could a help him and make him get burn up No matter the circumstances,” he adds.
Aldain is a past student of the Black River High School in the parish. He spends most of his days in the community farming as well as performing other odd jobs. His dream, however, is to one day become a soldier and yearns for the opportunity.
“Yes, it is what I believe I can do, because I tell myself I want to be a solder from a tender age growing up. I also want to see Jamaica be a better place, the community and everybody to live as one and unite,” he says.
The young man’s act of bravery has not gone unnoticed in the community, where family and residents continue to praise him for his heroism.
One resident, Marlon Daley, notes that Aldain did a “great and brave job” and that youngsters across Jamaica can take a page from his book.
“Be brave, just like Aldain, to go and rescue the elders. Also, I think the youngsters must look around even more deep now for the elders.
Check up on them. Just check while you know that the elders are in the community,” he tells JIS News.
Fire personnel at the Santa Cruz Fire Station had responded to the call in the community and managed to put out the blaze that caused an estimated loss of $700,000.
District Officer at the Santa Cruz Fire Station, Omar Simms, tells JIS News that the community and Jamaica should be proud of the youngster and his friends, who sprang into action when they did. He indicated that it was rare to see such an action from the general public.
“It is very rare seeing this. Not many would really take on the task to rescue an elderly like this. Him (Daley) doing this, I would encourage young people on a whole to admire him,” Mr. Simms says.