DOWNTOWN KINGSTON (VERY SAD STORY) : 54 y-o ex-soldier Howard ‘Soljie’ Thompson, mother and son perish in Church Street blaze; several homeless.... Woman dies in fire night before birthday

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS Senior staff reporter saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com  Thursday, April 21, 2016    
Chantol Ellis (centre), daughter of Ann-Marie Green
 who perished in the fire, is consoled by a coworker
 and an unidentified relative along Church Street
 as they await word from the police in the
 wake of the fire.Photo: Garfield Robinson
FIFTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD ex-soldier Howard ‘Soljie’ Thompson lost his life, trapped in flames at around midnight Tuesday as he tried unsuccessfully to save his neighbour Ann-Marie Green and her nine-year-old son, Jordan Marsh, from a fire that engulfed the multi-storey building in which they lived at 80 Church Street in downtown Kingston.
Thompson’s friend Yvonne Campbell, who was with him when the fire started downstairs, said ‘Soljie’ died doing one of the things he did best — helping those in need.
She remembered her friend and neighbour as a kind, quiet man. She added that he could have escaped as many others did, but chose to rush back into danger to help Green and her son as they cried for help.
Totally destroyed
She said she knew ‘Soljie’ from a previous association, but that he had only lived at the premises for a few months. Campbell said the last kind act of kindness from her friend was when he applied a dressing to her foot, which had been accidentally pierced by a nail. “Him get a green banana and mi have some bissy, and him set it up for me, and tie it on my foot, and wi sit down a reason. Then mi hear (a man) seh, ‘fire, fire!’. We ran out into the passage [and] mi run towards a staircase to get even my clothes; pure heat was coming up, and mi run back and him kick off a door at the side. Then him (Thompson) remember a guy who we know sleep dead, and him go back inside and take him out, and send him through the back from upstairs,” Campbell recounted. more

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