Mahdia tragedy: Mother of girl in ICU clings to hope, finding comfort in faith

Thirteen-year-old Sherana Daniels of Micobie, Region Eight, is currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Public Hospital after suffering injuries in the devastating fire at the Mahdia Secondary School female dormitory on Sunday night.

She is among 12 girls who are still patients there; seven others have since been discharged.

Sherana and her sister Trishana, 16, and stepbrother David, 12, are enrolled at the school and would only return home at the end of the school term. But on Sunday, mere hours before the inferno, Sherana called her mother, saying she wasn’t well. Her mother, Cleste Samuels, promised to collect her the next day.

Then, Mrs Samuels was told there was a fire at the school. She immediately tried contacting persons in the area to find out where the girls were but most people did not know.

At some point, Trishana contacted her mother using a teacher’s phone and told her that she was alive but couldn’t find Sherana.

It was previously reported that Sherana died in the fire and she was counted as the 20th victim.

The fire has destroyed the entire female dorms of the Mahdia Secondary School in Region Eight

“I couldn’t believe that because it was just the afternoon [Sunday] I talk to her. She told me she was getting a fever.

“I tell she, ‘Baby I will come for you tomorrow [Monday].’

“I am a sweeper cleaner for Micobie; I was going to get my little salary and I tell she, ‘I will come for you and bring you home.’ It hurt me because I told her that I going and collect her to bring her home. It’s very hurtful.”

Two phone calls later, the mother received relatively good news – Sherana was alive. Doctors managed to resuscitate her and so, the death toll from the fire reduced to 19.

Anxiety was still there though, not knowing the extent of her injuries. She was told her daughter was in a “serious” condition and had to be taken to Georgetown.

Her other daughter was sent to the Mahdia district hospital and is receiving treatment.

“I go yesterday midday to her, I touch her and I told her, ‘Mommy come for you. God will protect you…I want you to go home with me when I am going, I am not going home until you get better’.”

Mrs Samuels said that her children were raised in a religious household and they were encouraged to take every educational opportunity. She did not anticipate such a tragedy could happen at the school.

“I does always send them and let them spend out their term. I does see some people children come home and it does hurt me to see their children at home and my children at school until school closes [but] I does tell them I sending you to school to learn something for yourselves and now this is what happen,” the distraught mother told the News Room.

The aftermath of the horrific fire at Mahdia

The devastating fire started after 23:00 hrs on Sunday night and continued into the wee hours of Monday morning. Authorities have confirmed that 18 girls and one boy died in the fire. The girls were students while the boy, 5, was the son of the caretakers of the dormitory. Investigators also found that the fire was maliciously set by another student.

The school housed girls from Mahdia, Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas in Region Eight.