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Baby dies; siblings injured in New Montrose house fire

Baby dies; siblings  injured in New  Montrose house fire

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Sharon Williams, one of the good Samaritans who helped rescue three children from a burning house last Friday night, is hoping that the children’s mother, Tamara Lavia, takes stock of her life.

On January 26, Simrique Lavia, an eight-month-old baby boy, the son of Tamara, received burns on 90 per cent of his body during a fire that took place on the ground floor of a concrete dwelling house at Upper New Montrose around 10:30 p.m.

He died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) at 4:10 a.m. Saturday.

Reports are that Tamara, a 28-year-old domestic, left four of her five children, Itika (6 years old), Apploniyia (3 years old), Simonique (18 months old) and Simrique at home alone, locked the children inside the house and went to Heritage Square, a popular hangout area in Kingstown.

On Monday, Lavia, a mother of five, appeared at the Serious Offences Court, charged with abandoning 18-month-old Simonique Lavia, she being a child under the age of two years and abandoning eight-month-old Simrique Lavia, he being a child under the age of two years.

She was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) and a post mortem will be done on Simrique’s body to ascertain the cause of death.

“I think she need to learn a lesson and sit down and consider how she could be better and pull she self together,” said Williams of Tamara, whom she considers her friend.

She said that she is hoping that Tamara does not spend a long time in prison, as her children have been asking for their mother whom they have not seen since the incident occurred.

The police say that a single candle, left burning on a chest of drawers, started the fire in the bedroom where the children were. The eldest child, Itika, ran out of the house after neighbours broke the door off. She escaped unhurt, but Apploniyia and Simonique received light burns about their bodies and are patients at the MCMH.

“When she going town and so, she does normally tell us have an eye on them (the children). I feel sad about what happened, but I think that they should be around their mother. She don’t listen, but she love the children and they asking for their mother,” said Williams, who has been visiting Apploniyia and Simonique at the MCMH since the incident.

Williams said that Tamara’s oldest child, who is around eight years old, does not live with Tamara and since the incident, Itika is with her father.

Reliving the night, Williams said that she was in bed when her son knocked on her bedroom door and told her there was a fire at Tamara’s home.

She said she and a number of other person sprang into action and began throwing buckets of water on the blaze.

Williams noted that the door to the house was padlocked and a man from the area broke off the door after which Itika, whom she calls “Pikachu”, ran out of the house. She believes if the door was not locked, all the children would have made it out unhurt.

Williams said that the man who broke off the lock was trying to enter the house to get the baby, but the smoke prevented him from doing so.

The fire brigade eventually got the baby out, but Williams said that at that point it was too late, as when she saw the child, she noticed that the baby was badly burnt and trembling.

Keon Phillips, the man who broke down the door, said that on the night of the fire, he was standing close to the house with two other persons when he observed smoke.

“When I cast my eye, I see like smoke and fire…I say, ‘boy f***ing fire, smoke boy,’ and start to run, go cross now, because I see it bin ah blaze,” said Phillips, who shouted Tamara’s name, but got no response.

“When I reach by the door, I see a lock on the door and children bawling inside…I have to brace underneath the door and buss the door and get out the first girl; so, when I try go in fuh get the rest dem now, too much smoke, too much flame. I jump up and a neighbour, go up pun top the roof, buss the drum (drums of water a neighbour was keeping) dem and start to throw and other people follow with the bucket and ting,” Phillips related.

He said that if the lock was not on the door, he may have been able to save the child who died, but since the incident, a woman approached him and told him not to speak about the lock.

“Yesterday (Sunday), a lady approached me; seem to be an attorney; she tell me don’t mention anything bout lock and I find that real unfair.

“I can’t stifle my conscience because innocent children get hurt in the process. The mother is a struggling woman, easy to go with, but one mistake she mek, two mistake; now she leave she kids home and lock the door,” said Phillips.

He noted that the parents of the children have not thanked him for what he did, but the police and people in the community have praised him.

“I see the mother by the station and she ain’t tell me nothing; all she do is crying. The father just pass me straight”, said Philips.(LC)

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