Tragic accident leaves parking officer in need

Early in the morning on Sunday, Nov. 7, University Police parking officer Angela Jones and her two children found themselves homeless and lucky to be alive.

Jones awoke from a deep sleep to a tug on her nightgown, and she smelled something burning. Getting up after seeing no one there, she found the living room of her trailer engulfed in flames.

Remembering the training she had received as an officer, she retrieved her two children: Jasmine Jones, 13, and Shedrick Jones Jr., 11.

“When I realized I wasn’t dreaming, my mind turned to my kids,” said Jones. “I’m well equipped because of how they train us. A lot of that saved my kids’ lives.”

Jones and her children had a matter of minutes to escape because of the speed with which the fire spread. They escaped through the trailer’s back door, which was in her daughter’s room. However, their escape was not immediate.

Because of the heat from the flames, the door had become swollen, sealing itself to the frame.

“Every bit of my and my children’s strength couldn’t open that door,” said Jones. “I said a prayer, ‘In Jesus’ name, help me. Please If you ain’t never helped me before, just this one time.’ I kicked that last kick, and that door popped open.”

The back draft created by the sudden rush of air pushed her out the door after the children. The three ran to the nearby home of Jones’ mother, where they stayed as the trailer continued to burn.

“That was my whole life in that house,” said Jones. “My kids weren’t even born when I bought that house. I paid for that with my own money. My whole life gone in seven minutes. Fire is final; that’s what it feels like.”

Jones did find renewed hope in the support she received from those around her. Members of her church, former and current coworkers and many others pooled resources to help.

“I really didn’t think anyone cared,” said Jones. “But let me tell you something, this has given me a new faith in humanity.”

However, because the fire was linked to a kerosene heater that violated insurance policies, the insurance company would not pay. Jones is now getting by as best she can, with the help of much needed donations.

She and her children have received many donations of clothing but are still in need of furniture, among other things. A flier has been distributed around campus detailing some of her needs and directing those who wish to help to the University Housing office in Pride Hall.

University Housing can be contacted by phone for more information at 985-549-2118.