Mother Dies from Bush Fire Injuries

Mother Dies from Bush Fire Injuries

02 April 2016

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Trinidad and Tobago– The Febeau Village, San Juan mother who lost her seven-year old son and was herself severely burnt in a bush fire on Wednesday, died from her injuries at the San Fernando General Hospital on Thursday evening. Shaleza Theodore-Hospedales, passed away around 7.25 pm although relatives, who had visited her earlier Thursday afternoon, were hopeful that she would survive.

They told Newsday that while Theodore-Hospedales was in excruciating pain, she was awake, aware and responsive. Doctors said that Theodore-Hospedales suffered burns to about 90 percent of her body. “She was nodding every time the doctors asked her a question, and when I told her that I was in the room with her, she nodded,” said one family member, Nicolette Theodore-Riley.

“I sat with her and talked, and prayed with her. The doctors told us that her lungs and everything were fine, it was just her kidneys that were giving her trouble. So we were hopeful after we left the hospital yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

But a little while after, we got a call from the doctors who told us to come back. By the time we did, she was already gone.” Her son, Hezekiah Hospedales, also died in the Lahore Road, Febeau Village fire on Wednesday.

He died from smoke inhalation according to an autopsy done at the Forensic Science Centre in St James on Thursday.

Theodore-Hospedales’ death left her relatives and other villagers, including her boyfriend, Shawn Andrews, in shock.

“I am trying not to get any flashbacks from seeing what I saw the other day (on Wednesday), but to know that I pulled her out of that fire, only to know that she succumbed later on, is just too much for me right now,” a distraught Andrews told Newsday.

The bush fire ignited on a hillside near Lahore Road, around 9.30 a.m. and spread to the housing settlement where Theodore-Hospedales and her family lived. Residents in the area tried their best to contain the blaze on their own, but as hours passed they realised it was too much for them. They called the Fire and Emergency Services, but not before Theodore-Hospedales and Hezekiah were trapped by the smoke and the fire.

Newsday was told that she was assisting villagers by clearing debris from her house when the fire got out of control. She was with Hezekiah and her 18-month old daughter, Rukeia, when smoke surrounded the house. She took her daughter and her asthmatic son out of the house and tried to get them to safety, but the smoke was too much for the mother of three. A neighbour, Jeremiah Jones, took the toddler from Theodore-Hospedales, and told them to follow him out of the smoke, but she apparently lost the Hezekiah while making her way out of the smog.

As she ran back into the smoke, Jones told reporters that he could hear Theodore-Hospedales crying out for her son, “Hezekiah! Hezekiah!” Eventually her cries subsided, and worried residents went back into the smog trying to find her.

With the assistance of residents in the area and her boyfriend, Theodore- Hospedales was eventually found and pulled from the fire.

Emergency personnel rushed her to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, then to the intensive care unit at the San Fernando General Hospital. Her son was already dead. An autopsy is expected to be performed at the Forensic Science Centre in St James next week.

A funeral for mom and son will be arranged thereafter

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