A mother and her three children were burnt to death at around 20.45 hrs last night, after a Port Kaituma businessman set his heavily-grilled two-storey home alight with his family trapped inside.
Reports out of Port Kaituma stated that two of the man’s daughters and his son perished with their mother. Kaieteur News was told that one of the children is a little over a year old. Sources identified two of the victims as Leah and Lebron LaCruz. The name of the lone survivor has been given as Lisa. People spoke of hearing the children screaming inside the inferno but could do nothing. The said that they feared the possible explosion from the gas cylinders and fuel stored nearby.
Residents identified the businessman as Lenus La Cruz, who owned a variety store that was in the bottom flat of the property. Sources said that La Cruz suffered burns to the head, back and limbs after fleeing from the burning building. He was subsequently detained at the Port Kaituma Hospital where he sought medical attention. Irate residents hurled threats at the suspect as he was being taken into custody.
Kaieteur News was told that the suspect’s 15-year-old daughter managed to escape. She was reportedly taken to the Port Kaituma Hospital for observation. Kaieteur News was told that she was subsequently taken to a teacher’s home, where she remained.
The entire building was destroyed, and residents lamented the absence of a fire station in the community and the shortage of water to fight the flames. Fortunately, despite heavy winds, the flames did not spread to Abdool’s fuel depot which also stored cooking gas.
It is believed that the businessman may have waited until his family was asleep before torching his property. Residents said that they were alerted to the tragedy after seeing flames and hearing the screams of the children who were trapped in the heavily grilled building.
A resident who was at the scene recalled seeing the lone survivor, who is in her teens, standing outside the burning building and screaming “My daddy kill my mommy and my brother and sisters.”
At press time, police who were at the scene were still to remove the bodies, and even after the inferno had died down, several angry residents still remained at the scene, speculating as to what could have triggered the heinous act.
“People are angry; they are wondering what caused him (the father) to do this,” one resident said.
The resident said that he had seen Mr. La Cruz two days ago and that the businessman had appeared to be “stressed out,” and “down and out.”
Kaieteur News understands that the eldest child had made a report to police on Thursday that her father had threatened to burn their house down. The police reportedly told her that they would investigate but that they never did.
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