(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Two brothers, aged eight and one – were burnt to death after they were trapped in a house on fire in the inner-city community of Norwood, here Friday night.
The deceased have been identified as eight-year-old Javinci Palmer and his one-year-old brother Tyler McLeod, who lived with their mother and two sisters, aged six and one, in the Hollywood area of Norwood.
The one-year-old girl, half of twin siblings, sustained burns and has been hospitalised after she was courageously saved by her six-year-old sister from the burning house. Firefighters were yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
The mother reportedly left the one-year-old twins and their six-year-old sister in the care of their eight-year-old brother, who perished in the blaze.
The Jamaica Observer was reliably informed that after, the 28-year-old mother was spotted on the roadway in the community by police on patrol, she complied with instructions to leave the street and headed home.
Not long after, the police were later summoned to the scene of a fire in the area and on their arrival, it was discovered that the same woman was the mother of the deceased children. It was further ascertained that she had left the children unsupervised when the wooden house caught fire.
She has been taken into police custody for questioning.
National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, who is the parliamentary representative of the community where the tragedy occurred, expressed that the incident was a manifestation of the social ills dogging the society.
“It just reflects some of the social problems we have. It is not only one family in Jamaica on (a) weekend going to leave their baby in charge of the house. And that’s a risk we take when this happen. But it is a reality of life. It’s a matter of resolving some of these social challenges,” Dr Chang bemoaned during a visit to the community yesterday.
He lauded the courage of the six-year-old who saved her one-year-old sister.
“The six-year-old saved the life of her sister. It shows the strength of our children. She was active this morning. The other one got scorched and had to be taken to hospital. Very sad, very unfortunate,” Dr Chang lamented.
According to Assistant Superintendent Keneisha Vaccianna, the Freeport Fire Station responded with two units after receiving a call at 11:55 pm about the house on fire.
“Upon arrival the team observed a wooden structure fully engulfed with flames. Community members were seen trying to fight the fire, however, they were unsuccessful due to the magnitide of the blaze. It was also reported to the brigade that children were trapped inside,” Vaccianna said.
“Firefighting operations began immediately and during cooling down operations what appeared to be the bodies of two children were discovered. This was confirmed by the mother who resides in the dwelling that was affected by the fire. It was also revealed that it was a one-year-old and an eight-year-old child that met their demise in the fire,” Vaccianna told members of the media.
He bemoaned the irony of the tragedy which occurred at the end of Fire and Safety Week.
Dr Chang promised to provide support to the bereaved family.
“We will work with them to give them all the moral support that we can. We will take them for counselling and at the same time assist them through the difficulty they have,” Dr Chang said.