Trinidad: Mother wants compensation for boys rescued from oil pit

Happy to be alive, Darold Clarke, left and his brother Adeil Cyrus, are hugged by their mother Fredricka Hodge and stepfather stepfather Kenneth at their home yesterday.

(Trinidad Guardian) The moth­er of two boys res­cued from an oil pit in Point Fortin last week wants com­pen­sa­tion and prop­er med­ical care for her chil­dren and her hus­band.

Speak­ing from their Egypt Vil­lage, Point Fortin home yes­ter­day, Fredric­ka Hodge was fear­ful the in­ci­dent would even­tu­al­ly be swept un­der the car­pet.

“My worst fear is that they just brush it un­der the rug and they don’t do any­thing to help the chil­dren prop­er­ly. And that if some­thing hap­pens to my chil­dren lat­er down the line and I can’t help them be­cause med­ical­ly I am not able to,” she said.

She said Her­itage Pe­tro­le­um Com­pa­ny Lim­it­ed has of­fered to pay for them to re­ceive pri­vate med­ical care if they do not re­ceive treat­ment through the pub­lic hos­pi­tal.

The brothers, ages eight and 10

The moth­er says her sons Adeil Cyrus,12, and Darold Clarke, 14, and her hus­band, Ken­neth Small, 64, are still un­der­go­ing med­ical tests and on Wednes­day they have an ap­point­ment with a der­ma­tol­o­gist.

How­ev­er, she said: “If the med­ical ex­am­i­na­tions come back good, I would like for them to get test­ed again six months from now, a year from now, be­cause you know chem­i­cals. Be­cause they are young and might be healthy it mightn’t show now but it may show up lat­er on, and I might not be in a po­si­tion to help them.”

She be­lieves the or­deal had a psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect on the chil­dren.

Re­call­ing last Thurs­day’s in­ci­dent, Cyrus said he was chas­ing a kite when he tripped and fell in­to the pit.

“I start pan­ick­ing and sink­ing faster, and then my two cousins went and call my moth­er,” he said.

He re­called that on­ly his face and one arm were not cov­ered in the oil. Clarke jumped in af­ter him and al­so got stuck. Clarke said he held his up his broth­er’s head un­til help ar­rived.

Small, a Petrotrin re­tiree, al­so got stuck when he tried to help them.

“I was feel­ing as though I was go­ing to die and then af­ter the peo­ple come and get me out,” said Cyrus.

The moth­er was dis­ap­point­ed that the Point Fortin Dis­trict and San Fer­nan­do Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tals were not equipped to deal with the sit­u­a­tion.

Hodge said she had to pur­chase diesel, pitch oil, un­lead­ed gas, and Dawn de­ter­gent which they used to scrub their bod­ies at the hos­pi­tals. Small said it took a long time for them to re­move the oil from their bod­ies.

“It was burn­ing us,” he re­called. The boys al­so suf­fered mi­nor burns from the chem­i­cals.

Hodge is call­ing for com­pen­sa­tion for her hus­band and sons.

“Be­cause there (the area) sup­posed to be fenced off,” she said.

The boys will not re­turn to school un­til they get a clean bill of health. The fam­i­ly is con­tem­plat­ing le­gal ac­tion.

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