Retired fire officer Hilarion Ramlochan was killed when a tree fell pinning him inside his car for almost an hour before emergency services responded.
Ramlochan, a father of two, was pronounced dead at the Princes Town District Hospital on Saturday.
He was returning to his Pascal Trace, Piparo home after repairing his silver Nissan AD wagon when the incident occurred around 8.45 a.m.
The giant teak tree fell across Robinson Road, near New Grant.
But Ramlochan’s relatives are disappointed in the length of time it took fire officers and paramedics to arrive on the scene.
His daughter, Candace said, “My father was a fire officer who worked with time. He was never late to save anyone. His job was important to him and so was time. So I cannot understand why the fire services had to take to long to respond.”
The UWI student said she was waiting for her father to pick her up at her apartment in St Augustine when she received the news that he died.
Ramlochan’s neighbour David Boodoo was travelling in the opposite direction when he saw the tree on Ramlochan’s car. “I stopped immediately and I went to the car. I realised it was my neighbour and I tried to help. I told him if he was hearing me to respond and he made sounds. I asked him to pray with me and I know he was praying,” he said.
Ramlochan’s son, Sean, said his father was conscious when he arrived at the scene. “I reached there around 9.30 a.m. and the fire officers and ambulance came about 10.10 a.m. I told my father to move his eyes if he was hearing me and he did. I started to pray,” he said.
He said his father was unconscious when paramedics removed him from the car. And doctors at the hospital said there was nothing more they could do to save him.
“But I believe if he was attended to sooner that would have helped to save him. They delayed for so long and left my father inside that car,” he said.
Ramlochan’s body was removed to the San Fernando mortuary where an autopsy would be performed this morning.
Relatives said the tree that fell on Ramlochan’s car was burnt in a raging bush fire that lasted four days. “The tree trunk was burnt. There was no root holding it up. And only after the fire workers from the forestry division came and started clearing the land. When that was burning for four days no one came,” Sean Ramlochan said.
Ramlochan’s wife, Pearl, said they were married for 29 years and her husband enjoyed his 33 years as a fire officer. He retired last year, she said.
And another resident escaped serious injury when a teak tree struck his car in the same area yesterday.
Brandon Samsingh, 23, was driving along Robinson Road when he heard a cracking sound. Samsingh said he stepped on the accelerator avoiding the falling tree. The side of his Honda Civic car was damaged.
Tableland police are continuing investigations.