Seven years ago, fire officer Christopher Edwards tragically lost his life while responding to an emergency call.
And today family members and friends, including his wife Cheryl, came together with members of The Barbados Association of Retired Fire Officers to lay wreaths at his gravesite at the All Saints Anglican Church in St Peter.
The fire service veteran of over 30 years, who was affectionately known as ‘German’, was responding to a house call at Station Hill, St Peter when he encountered a live Barbados Light & Power cable and was electrocuted on December 15th, 2010. He died on the spot.
At the time, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite, while expressing profound sadness over Edward’s passing had said the incident had “again brought into sharp focus the hazardous conditions under which our security and emergency services personnel operate on a daily basis.
“In fact, the work of these dedicated public servants, who are pressed into service as part of our emergency response mechanism, is one often fraught with a high degree of danger. Indeed, no praise is too high for these brave men and women who are always willing to go beyond the call of duty, sometimes putting their own lives on the line, to ensure our safety; and for this, we are most grateful,” Brathwaite added in an official statement.
At the time, his wife had told reporters on the scene that she was at home in the gallery with a neighbour when she got a call from the fire service asking for him.
“I told them to call him. I told my neighbour ‘I would hate to get a call and hear my husband died’ and quick so I get a call from somebody telling me to come to the scene,” she had said.
Seven years on, the tragedy is still very painful one for her to recall, especially as she reflects on the words he had uttered to her in their last telephone conversation that evening.
“He asked me what I was cooking and he said, ‘I am coming now’, but he never came,” she said, before pausing for composure.
With the thought of his death still seemingly painful for the widow, she chose today to focus on the good times as she spoke to reporters close to his gravesite about her most treasured memories of Edwards, including the day he asked her to become his bride.
“When he did ask me to get married to him I said, ‘no’, I wasn’t ready, [but] he looked at me and he said, ‘I am going to ask you one more time and if you don’t answer, I am out’. And yes, I did say, ‘yes’, at that time,” she said, while forging a smile.
Apart from a loving and devoted husband, Cheryl said Edwards was very dedicated to his job, so much so that “he would never take a sick day”.
“I remember the same morning he died he said, ‘I ain’t feel like going work’. I said, ‘stay home’, [but] he said, ‘I love my job’.”
President of Barbados Association of Retired Fire Officers Keith Ward also reflected on the contribution of the fallen fireman who he had known personally and described as a jovial person.
“He was a very nice fella and was very jovial. If you sad and you down he would say something to pick you up,” Ward said.
Also among those laying wreaths today were Edwards’ brother Martin, his good friends Elsa Jackman, Rudy Murray and Walter Boyce.