(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — A three-year-old boy died hours after suffering burns to his entire body when his father’s car exploded with him inside.
Prince Francette, who sustained burns to 100 per cent of his body, succumbed while receiving emergency treatment at the San Fernando General Hospital.
The boy’s father, Justin Francette, 22, was not injured, police said.
The horrific way in which the child lost his life has left the entire area of Cito Lane, Tabaquite, where his father lives, in a state of shock and sadness.
The circumstances surrounding the tragic incident are not yet clear, but the child was in the back seat of the car while his father was doing some modifications to the vehicle.
Neighbours said the father had recently purchased the old model Nissan March. The car exploded around 2 pm. When his relatives eventually put out the blaze, they found the child lying on his stomach.
He was groaning in pain. He was unrecognisable as his entire body was burnt. A graphic video showing someone wetting the child’s body with water from a hose in an attempt to “cool him down” has been circulating on social media.
Relatives declined to speak with the T&T Guardian crew, but neighbours said the EHS ambulance took about two hours to arrive on the scene.
A neighbour said, “It is really terrible. It is sad. My heart hurts just thinking about the pain that child went through.”
Due to the extent of his burns, she was relieved that the child was no longer suffering.
Described as a sweetheart in the neighbourhood, a resident said Prince lived with his mother, but would often visit his father.
The child’s mother dropped him off on Thursday, she said.
Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation and councillor for the area, Henry Awong expressed condolences to the family.
“It is a very sad situation and the entire community of Tabaquite is concerned and affected by what happened. We are hoping for the best for the family,” Awong said.
Awong said the corporation will be lending support and assistance to the family. The burnt car was impounded at the Brasso Police Station. Investigators said they were still gathering information and could not disclose any details. Constables Coombs and Nanan visited the scene and are investigating.