Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Fire victim wanted to see his daughter become doc - Though full of fight, Farquharson knew he wouldn’t make it, says grieving wife

Published:Monday | February 24, 2020 | 12:18 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Byron Smalling speaks about his late friend, Daniel Farquharson, the FESCO gas station fire victim.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Daniel Farquharson’s garage in Mandeville.
Workmen erect fencing yesterday around the Heaven’s FESCO service station where seven people sustained injuries in an explosion on Friday, February 21. Daniel Farquharson succumbed to third-degree burns a day later.
Daniel ‘Danny’ Farquharson, who succumbed to burn injuries from the FESCO gas station explosion in Mandeville, Manchester, on Friday.
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Daniel Farquharson and his wife, Cheryl, had dreams of seeing their daughter, Daniella, enter medical school and were counting down the days till September for the birth of that reality.

But in a horrific 48-hour experience, that dream vanished, and the family plunged into mourning and despair after Farquharson became the first casualty of the Heaven’s FESCO service station fire last Friday.

The Gleaner news team visited the family home of Farquharson in Mandeville yesterday, the day of his 60th birthday, where family and friends, instead of celebrating, had gathered to mourn.

Cheryl recounted the moment she learnt of her husband’s demise.

“I was sitting right here when I got the call. All he said to me when I went down there [on Friday] (the Mandeville Regional Hospital) is, ‘Take care of yourself, I am not going to make it,’” said Cheryl, Farquharson’s wife of 26 years, with her mother and daughter by her side.

Cheryl said he was eventually transferred to the University Hospital of the West Indies the following day, where he was admitted to an intensive care unit as he had suffered third-degree burns all over his body.

She had travelled behind the ambulance into Kingston, clinging to the hope that her husband would have recovered from his injuries.

“They took me into the room, and I see about 10 doctors around him, and they were telling me what they were doing and what they were giving him. One of them told me the bottom line was that in her opinion, he was not going to make it,” she recalled in a soft tone.

Cheryl and her daughter said the turn of events came as a surprise to them because Farquhason was fighting to remain alive.

“When he was going to into the ambulance, he said he was going to be strong because he wanted to see her in her doctor’s uniform – the white coat – and he laughed and said he was going to fight,” Cheryl stated.

“I know that leaving Mandeville Hospital, he was in severe pain because he cried the whole night,” she added.

Cheryl said she has been hearing different stories as to why her husband was at the gas station and was therefore unable to piece together the full picture.

Cheryl told The Gleaner that she and Daniel were looking forward to attending the funeral of Nevia Sinclair, the 27-year-old woman of Brinkley, close to Nain in southeast St Elizabeth, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend at her home.

Sinclair had moved out of her boyfriend’s home and returned to live with her parents because of an alleged abusive relationship.

“Is right upstairs Nevia lived, and he said, ‘Nevia funeral can’t miss me … and see it there. One tragedy after another.”

Meanwhile, Byron Smalling, who assisted Farquharson to the hospital, is livid that his friend had been left suffering with no help after he had been badly injured in the explosion.

“It was so sad. Everybody there taking picture, picture! Nobody was there trying to help him. I used my body and block a vehicle and seh, ‘Help! Help! Help! Can you help this man?’ And everybody just taking picture,” Smalling said, mentioning that he had left his car at a distance and was unable to retrieve it.

Smalling said he eventually saw someone he knew and was able to put Farquharson into a vehicle and rushed him to hospital.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com