A 3-year-old girl is now dead and her family is homeless after a fire suspected to be electrical in origin gutted their two-storey Vigilance South Squatting Area, East Coast Demerara home early yesterday morning.
Bianka Sancho’s burnt body was discovered in front of the last bedroom of the house which she shared with her parents, Lovern and Dellion Sancho and three other siblings: Isaiah Sancho, 5, Moses Sancho, 4 and three-month-old Briana Sancho.
According to reports reaching Stabroek News, the house went up in flames around 7 am yesterday while Lovern and the children were asleep in the top flat of the three-bedroom wooden and concrete house.
Lovern and Briana were sleeping in the front bedroom of the house, Isaiah and Moses were sleeping in the middle bedroom and Bianka was sleeping in the last bedroom.
There was a commotion at the scene yesterday, as the hearse removed Bianka’s remains. One of the dead child’s aunts lay on the roadway screaming, “Bianka gone! No mo Bianka! Ow!” Another aunt banged continuously on the hearse.
The family had resided in Buxton and moved to occupy the Vigilance house some three years ago.
A grieving Lovern explained to this newspaper that she was asleep with her children and had just awakened to finish up her daily chores before the children woke when she saw smoke coming from the middle room.
She said she quickly grabbed Isaiah, Moses and Briana and scampered to safety, before returning for Bianka who was trapped in the bedroom since the door was locked from inside. “By time I coulda go up back for she the door nah been an open,” Lovern said.
She said several efforts made to save the now dead child proved futile since the house was heavily grilled and the heat was too intense. The house was completely destroyed in a matter of minutes.
Neighbours related to this newspaper that they were only aware of the fire when they heard screams coming from the house.
The Guyana Police Force in a release issued yesterday afternoon said enquiries have disclosed that Lovern and her children were sleeping in separate rooms when they were awakened by the smell of smoke and saw the house partially engulfed in flames.
As a result, the police said, Lovern rushed her two sons, Isiah and Moses along with her youngest child, Briana for safety and was returning for Bianka when the upper flat caved in, preventing her from entering.
The Guyana Fire Service was summoned and they quickly extinguished the fire.
A source from the Guyana Fire Service told Stabroek News that the fire was electrical in origin, while noting that the area was not powered by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and therefore persons who reside there gain access to electricity illegally.
“Persons there get electricity through the use of improvised wires which [likely] overheated and resulted in a spark that caught on the curtains of the middle room resulting in the fire,” the source related.
Apart from a police investigation into the fire, this newspaper was also informed that a separate probe was launched by the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) to determine the conditions under which the children were living.
The family estimated losses from the fire to be millions of dollars, since the house was fully furnished and they managed to save nothing.
While contemplating their next move, they will be seeking shelter at the homes of relatives.
Anyone willing to offer any form of assistance to the family can make contact on telephone number 649-5464.