When adults in the community of Ban Lane, Paradise, froze as a blaze consumed the one-bedroom dwelling in which her three siblings were trapped, six-year-old Cory Ann Palmer, affectionately called ‘Princess’, sprang into action. She dashed into the burning house – to the horror of the watching adults, and after a breath-catching moment, she re-emerged, clutching her one-year-old sister in her arms. Though she was unable to save her two brothers – who tragically perished in the fire, her community, her school, Albion Primary and Junior High and the Ministry of Education, recognized her as a hero, and recently, she was honoured.
Cory Ann Palmer, amidst the cheers in what was surely a bittersweet moment, was honoured last Tuesday for her bravery – the sole reason her beloved one-year-old sister is now in hospital recovering.
The Albion Primary and Junior High, acting in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and the Region 4 QEC 36 Outreach Programme, paid homage to the little hero at the school’s Carol Service, awarding her with a medal and a plaque. She also received food items, clothing and a bed.
Stacey Ann Brown, Cory Ann’s aunt with whom she now lives, says while she is so proud of her niece, it remains extremely painful to speak about the fire and the fact that her nephews met such a tragic and untimely end.
THESE ARE FOR YOU: Shamara Brissett Gordon, Education Officer, Region Four, Ministry of Education (centre), makes a presentation to Stacey-Ann Brown, aunt of Cory Ann Palmer (fourth from left), along with officials from various entities including the Ministry of Education. The gathering and awards presentation took place at the Hillview Baptist Church.
“Right now, I don’t like talking about it. It is reliving the pain all over. I was devastated because I was asleep and I woke up and saw Cory Ann outside with the baby, and I was wondering what was happening with the boys. I was confused, anxious, feeling bad – all of that and more. I was scared, and all sorts of things were going through my mind. I had the phone and was trying to call the police, but because I was in shock, I could not find the number, I was already traumatized.”
Miss Brown said while the family is struggling to come to terms with the tragedy, they are also facing space problems as they do not have the space to put the beds they have been given.
“We don’t have enough space where we are now. Dr. Chang (Member of Parliament) had promised to help us to build back a structure, but we have not heard anything more from him yet, so we are waiting,” she concluded.
Cory Ann’s two brothers, eight-year-old Javinci Palmer and one-year-old Tyler McLeod, were unable to escape the blaze, perishing in the incident which saw their mother being brought into police custody, on suspicion of negligence.