…family suspects arson, says previous attempts were made
By Zena Henry
The family of two teen sisters was yesterday plunged into sorrow as news of their demise by fire began
to spread. The girls perished in a massive blaze which completely destroyed the three storey building they were living in with their father.
Fifteen -year-old Theresa and 12-year-old Feresa Rozario were said to have been burnt beyond recognition when they got trapped in the early morning inferno that also left their father, Hilrod Randolph Thomas, nursing second and third degree burns at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Reports are that around 02:00hours yesterday, the property which also housed several small businesses-some of which were recently renovated, became engulfed in flames. Unconfirmed reports are that the children were unable to escape the heavily grilled building, while the father allegedly jumped through a window.
Kaieteur News was told that firefighters, who arrived on the scene a short time after the fire had started, were unaware that the children were in the house. In fact, Fire Chief, Marlon Gentle actually told the media that the girls were safe having been removed from the building by his firemen. It was not until the fire had died down that their remains were discovered among the rubble.
Rosemary Rozario, the mother of the two girls, was inconsolable at the scene yesterday. Around 10:30hours the mother was still seated opposite the fire scene at the corner of Robb and King Streets trying to come to grips with the loss of her children.
Before slipping into a state of unconsciousness, the woman told the publication that the girls are among her youngest children. She is a mother of six. She said that the girls who attended St John’s College had been living with their father at the property for some time now.
The mother said that it was only a few hours earlier that she had spoken to her daughters before
learning of their death. The woman said her oldest son called her at her Georgetown residence to break the news.
Rozario is convinced that yesterday’s fire was no accident. She maintained that it was someone known to the family who might have caused the fire. According to the woman, her children’s father has a problem with another man over the property which he occupies. She said some three years ago, the said person had attempted to burn the property with the three occupants inside.
She said that the property was not destroyed and the father remained with his daughters. The mother said despite her request, the father refused to let her have the girls.
As two blurred photos of the girls began to circulate among the large crowd that had gathered to offer words of condolence and support, the woman burst into tears before passing out.
Another one of Rozario’s daughters, 17-year-old Zamara Dillon said that doctors at GPHC explained that the father was badly burnt and was being closely monitored. She told the publication that it is unclear whether the man remembers anything that occurred since they understand that he is unaware of the children’s demise.
The 17-year-old said that the family is also keeping the information from the father until he is better.
In the meantime, police investigators say that they will be reviewing footage from buildings to ascertain whether this is a case of arson.
An alleged eyewitness told media personnel that he was present when men lit the building. The man who was on the street in the early morning hours said he was standing at the corner of King Street and North Road when he noticed a car continuously traversing the area.
The male sex worker said the men had a brief discussion with him, before they turned into
Company Path. Two occupants later exited the vehicle near the NBS building and walked along Avenue-of-the-Republic before turning on to Robb Street and walking east to the now burnt out building. One of the men, he claimed, kicked a door open, entered the property and lit the building.
The witness said the building apparently did not light at first, but by this time the men had already walked up Robb Street where the car was waiting at the corner. He continued that the car apparently drove south along Wellington then west onto Regent Street before stooping at the corner of King and Regent Streets. They again exited the vehicle and one person stood at the corner, while the other man went to the building with a lit bottle and again attempted to burn the building. The men both ran back to vehicle and made good their escape.
The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has expressed condolences to the family of the deceased. The Council has called for citizens to be careful, especially in this festive season. They asked that citizens observe health and safety regulations and ensure the clearing of canals for the accessibility of water in case of emergencies.
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