A 32-year-old security officer, who single handedly and heroically rescued three young girls from a burning building at the Walker’s Place of Safety in January, will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry from the Jamaica government.
A Jamaica Information Service (JIS) statement said that Kimani Anderson is one of nine people shortlisted for the award, and is among more than 200 people being recognised for outstanding service during this year’s Honours and Awards Ceremony on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 15.
Anderson said that he is honoured by the recognition being accorded him for braving the raging flames to extract the three girls, wards of the state, who were trapped in their dormitory on the night of January 16.
He recalls bolting from his house to the Home after being awakened by screams and the sound of breaking glass emanating from the facility, which is situated beside his residence on Lyndhurst Crescent in Kingston.
Anderson said he instinctively kicked in the door to the dormitory, sections of which were already on fire and filled with smoke, and extracted the girls.
Anderson, who remarkably sustained no injuries, says he was unaware of the fourth occupant as the smoke obscured his view of the entire room.
This, he adds, was compounded by the panicky state of the other girls and the urgent need to exit the building, occasioned by the rapidly raging inferno. He recounted being restrained by neighbours who converged on the premises, in his attempts to find a way back inside to retrieve the trapped girl.
Anderson points out, however, that the heightened intensity of the fire, which by then had almost engulfed the entire building, put paid to this effort, resulting in the young girl’s untimely death.
She was one of the two youngsters who perished in the fire.