Bowden Hill tragedy - Toddler’s life lost in heartbreaking landslide
Pain, grief and brokenness blanketed the quiet rural community of Bowden Hill, St Andrew, yesterday after responders pulled the body of a two-month-old child from beneath the rubble of her collapsed house.
Baby Timera Dennie was one of five persons in the house that collapsed about 6:15 a.m. following a landslide. Her twin sister, along with her four-year-old sibling, as well as her parents made it out alive.
Rescue workers including firefighters, police personnel and residents spent about two hours searching through the crumpled concrete heap that fell off the hillside, hoping to find Baby Timera alive.
"A inna mi bed mi did deh when mi hear the news and mi come same time and start help search. All the time mi a search mi just a pray that the little baby alive," said a relative of the deceased girl who participated in the search to locate her.
"The only thing on mi mind was just to carefully pick up the tings dem suh mi can find the baby alive," he added.
Approximately four hours after the search began, a firefighter emerged with the infant in hand. He wore a grim expression and held tightly to the infant who was wrapped in a cotton blanket. Baby Timera was unresponsive. As the firefighter ascended out of the gully and began making his journey up the slippery terrain that leads to the main road, several persons burst into tears. Their glimmer of hope had darkened. Community members, some of whom were drenched in perspiration, held on to their pick axes and other tools and followed the first responders. Their faces were gloomy.
Tanesha Dennie, another relative, said her morning started off as usual but a few minutes after she woke, a loud crashing sound changed everything.
"Mi outside and mi just hear a loud crash and then mi hear dem down the gully a cry out for help. One a dem a seh a 'yuh have di baby' and di next one a say 'a yuh have di baby'. When mi look, di house flat; there was no house," Dennie said.
"Dem two baby deh, mi visit dem every morning and every evening, suh mi really feel it. Is yesterday [Monday] the baby turn two months and now this," Dennie said.
Patrick Gooden, senior superintendent of the Kingston and St Andrew Jamaica Fire Brigade Division, described the incident as extremely heart-rending. He said they received the distressed call at 6:23 a.m. and a unit from the Stony Hill Station responded.
"They commenced the search and rescue immediately and units from York Park and Half-Way Tree were included in the search. There were 32 personnel out there and eventually something resembling a human was found, and the operation was ceased at that time," he said.
Gooden told the news team that the search and rescue was not an easy task.
"It was somewhat difficult as the terrain is challenging, but we were able to use the relevant equipment to breach the area. We want to thank the residents for their efforts as well. This is really a tragic loss and it's really emotional times. I don't feel like any parent would want to experience this type of situation. While the parents are grieving at this time, we as responders felt some type of emotions too," he said.