Cheryl Hinkson watched her seven-year-old granddaughter Dameisha clasp her hands, close her eyes and say a prayer for protection before putting her to sleep just before midnight Sunday night.
Moments later, when Hinkson kneeled and began to ask God to keep her family safe until morning, she was interrupted by the piercing cry of her 25-year-old daughter Avonelle Williams.
“‘Mummy the house cracking; it coming down,”’ Hinkson said, her daughter’s cry of panic still ringing in her ears.
“She picked up the little girl [Williams’ two-year-old daughter Aliyah] trying to get out. She had to shield the child and she get the majority of the blow,” an emotionally drained Hinkson told Barbados TODAY as she recalled how her family escaped major injuries when a section of the flooring of their Chaple Gap, Spooner’s Hill, St Michael home collapsed.
Two bedrooms and the bathroom of the wood and wall house in which they had lived for 22 years had caved in.
The toddler received some abrasions to her body, however, Williams had to undergo surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to close up a wound on her right hand.
Hinkson’s 35-year-old son Nicholas Hinkson was pinned by rubble and had to be rescued by officers from the Barbados Fire Service.
“I praise God that he come out because he started to pray. I say, ‘Nicholas you know how to pray; pray’. And he came out just with soft tissue injuries,” Hinkson said, clearly thankful that her son had escaped the worst.
Hinkson, who has been medically unfit since 2006, said while she was happy her family of five had escaped serious injury, their situation was now hopeless and they might have to live in the back of her car until they can find
a new home.
She said her son is the only person in the household who is employed, while her daughter is preparing to begin her second year in the Barbados Community College nursing programme.
“This just come on us. We have nowhere to go. If we get some help we would be thankful because this is not easy. This happen and all I can do is pray,” she cried.
The structure showed no warning signs of what was about to happen before it collapsed last night, Hinkson indicated. She said she was now struggling to figure out what could have gone wrong.
“You know you does got like a premonition something [is about to happen]. My granddaughter refused to go in the bedroom with her mother. I say, ‘Dameisha go long in your mother bedroom’ and she say, ‘granny I am not going in there, I am laying down out here’.
“She spread her towel on the floor and lay down on the floor. She refused to go. All I pushed her she refused to go. Then I get up and say I going in my bed. We went in the bed and then that happen. It is like if she had a premonition,” Hinkson recalled.
Two ambulances responded to the scene.