Kenrick Hutson recalled seeing several people trying to get into the burning Campus Trendz building in a bid to save several women trapped inside.
However, he said they had to abort their efforts after the store became engulfed in fire and smoke.
That was his testimony as he took the witness stand on day three of Jamar Dewayne Orlando Bynoe’s murder trial, which continued today in Court No.2 of the Supreme Court.
Bynoe of Headley’s Land, Bank Hall, St Michael is accused of murdering Shara Griffith, Kelly-Ann Welch, Pearl Cornelius, Kellyshaw Olivierre, Nikita Belgrave and Tiffany Harding on September 3, 2010.
Hutson, a confectionery maker from Olivies Gap, Tudor Bridge, St Michael, who plies his trade throughout Bridgetown, recounted how he heard screams coming from inside Campus Trendz as the fire quickly spread throughout the store.
He said just seconds before, he had seen two men fleeing the scene headed in the direction of Broad Street, before disappearing into an alley.
“I heard screaming coming from the back of the store where the fire was and I saw people trying to get inside to save the girls, but the fire was too hot,” he said under examination by Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale.
When asked if he did anything to help, Hutson replied, “I couldn’t do anything, the fire was too hot.”
He said he stood outside for about 30 minutes watching as people made several more attempts to enter the burning store – this time from the top and the rear – to no avail.
He revealed that he was accustomed to keeping some of his nutcakes and sugarcakes at Campus Trendz, and had gone back to the Tudor Street store to restock his tray just moments before two men attempted to rob it.
Hutson said as he was loading his tray, he heard a man shout, “this is a robbery” and looked around to see a man of a dark complexion, medium build and about 5’8” in height, wearing a camouflage mask on his face.
He recalled seeing a tall, red, skinny man, wearing a hat and sporting dark shades, enter the store seconds later armed with a big knife.
He said the shorter man took a bottle out of a bag with what looked like a cloth inside of it, lit it and threw it over his head into the back of the store.
Hutson said he managed to sneak outside when the two men approached the owner at the cash register, leaving the doorway clear.
Under cross-examination by Bynoe, Hutson insisted he had seen two men run away from the scene in the direction of Broad Street and that his recollection of the events “was just as fresh today as it was in 2010”.
Ocynthia James of Reed Street, St Michael also took the witness stand today.
She said she was in the store with two of her friends and was on her way to the cashier to purchase a pair of shoes when she saw one of the store’s employees running to the back of the building.
James said they followed the employee into a back room and saw her go into a smaller room.
However, after one of her friends suggested they leave the store, she and her two friends ran out of the burning building.
James said she suffered a burn on her leg as a result.
Also testifying was police constable Wayne Griffith, who admitted to taking photographs of the crime scene.
Under cross-examination by Bynoe, Griffith, who said his duties also included dusting crime scenes, said he did not find any forensic evidence at the scene linking it to the accused.
But under re-examination by Seale, Griffith said he had neither dusted nor had been instructed to dust a bottle found at the scene for fingerprints.
The trial which is being heard by Madam Justice Michelle Weekes resumes tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.