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Gran’s hero: right-hand man Maloney

Carlos Atwell

Gran’s hero: right-hand man Maloney

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JUNIOR MALONEY has no idea where he got the strength to pull both his 17-month-old daughter and 80-plus-year-old grandmother from their burning home – but thanks to God he was able to.Maloney was describing to the SUNDAY SUN what happened last Tuesday when his uncle Shirley Holder’s home was virtually destroyed by fire. It was clear the 37-year-old graphic artist spared little thought for himself.“I was talking to my aunt next door when we smelled something funny. She went to look and then I heard her scream, ‘Shirley! Bring back water!’ When I ran out, the fire was already in their verandah,” he said.The fire consumed most of Holder’s 1st Avenue, Promenade Road, St Michael, home which he shared with his wife, daughter and three grandchildren, and soon spread next door to the home of Maloney’s grandmother Pearl Holder, where Maloney and his daughter live.Maloney said they initially tried to slow the fire, but he soon realised it was a lost cause and sprang to action in getting his family out. He said his grandmother and daughter were sleeping in their bedroom which was directly beside where the fire started next door.“I ran back home next door to get my child and grandmother out from the bedroom. She suffers with bad arthritis so she can’t move too well; so I had to carry my daughter in one arm and lift my grandmother from around the waist with the other. I don’t know where I found the strength,” he said.Afterwards, he continued his efforts to contain the fire and prevent it from claiming another home – his own.“The fire spread to the ceiling. I had to get out once pieces of it started to fall. Luckily this is a wall house which is probably the only reason the fire didn’t come down and destroy it,” Maloney said.Some people may think of Maloney as a hero for doing what he did, but he said he simply did what he had to.“It’s not a matter of being a hero; I was just looking to get my family out. I’m just glad they are safe because it could have been worse,” he said.Most of his home escaped damage, but it was at the moment uninhabitable which is why his grandmother now stays with neighbours and why he moved into his girlfriend’s house in Grazettes.“People think because this is a wall house then there is no damage, but we can’t live here as it is right now. Plus, my grandmother needs to keep mobile because of her knees; next door she can’t,” Maloney said.The asrtist is thankful to the people in the community who helped him in removing hisgrandmother’s belongings from the house that day, as well as to Member of Parliament Steve Blackett, who helped clean the house out and is arranging for a new paint job.Pearl Holder in turn is thankful to her grandson, whom she calls her “right-hand man”, for all he has done.Maloney says his next step is to find a new home, and he is hoping his application to the National Housing Corporation, which he made long before the fire, comes through soon. •[email protected]