– 10 left homeless
An eight-month-old baby boy was burnt to ashes and 10 other persons were left homeless after an early morning fire, suspected to be arson, destroyed a three-bedroom house at Third Field, Kaneville, East Bank Demerara.
The blaze started around 02:30 hrs yesterday after a bitter neighbour and a friend allegedly threw “fire balls” into the Lot 462 B Kaneville house in which the infant, Romain Seth, and his family were sleeping.
Those now homeless are the baby’s mother, Holly Seth, 17; his grandmother, Michelle Menezes and her children, Biella, 8; Carlos, 11; Neid, 13; Gabriel Sampio, 5; Akeem Hinds along with other relatives, Tiffany Babb, Randy and Ansell Lyken.
The fire is believed to have started as a result of a bitter battle between two neighbours.
According to information, a teenage neighbour reportedly accused the toddler’s grandmother of ‘snitching’ on him and his gang to the cops, which resulted in lawmen raiding the neighbourhood frequently for guns and drugs.
When this newspaper went to the scene yesterday, heavily-armed police officers were in the area, looking for the teenage suspect.
The baby’s grandmother said that she had just fed the baby and put him to sleep when she heard a strange noise at the back of her home.
“I get up and went to the back to see what it was and then I hear another sound and when I watch (out the window) I see big balls of fire (being thrown at the house). They roll up paper, light it, and fling it at the house, and if you see was how much, like two, three coming at one time,” the woman recounted.
She explained that by the time she called out for her relatives to run out of the house, the blaze had already engulfed most of her property, because it was constructed of old wood.
“When I went for my grandson, he was already burn up, because they (suspects) push open the window and throw in a ball with fire on the bed,” the woman lamented, as tears flowed down her cheeks.
She said that she was forced to run out of the burning house and leave the baby behind since he was already dead.
At the time of the blaze, the toddler’s mother was not at home – he had been left in his grandmother’s care.
According to the devastated grandmother, two Sundays ago, her children were playing in the yard when one of them came across a gun hidden in a “sucka” tree and called out for her.
“When my son tell me, I say probably it was a water gun, but when I go, I see the long gun in the tree, so I took it out and carry it to the back to get it away from the children and by the time I walk to go back in front, he (neighbour) come and ask me weh he gun deh,” the woman said.
She explained that she told her teenage neighbour that she had no idea what he was talking about, but when the young man called out for a friend and asked him to bring the other weapon; she got scared and quickly took him to where she had put the firearm.
“When I give he the gun, I tell he that I don’t want anyone walk through my yard, and he left and then I leave home to go out on the road, and like he thought I went to the station. So he went and harass my daughter to get my number and he called and tell me if I report he, then he gone kill my family,” Menezes said.
The woman claims the young man offered her $20,000 but she refused.
“The day after I find the gun, I went to Brickdam Station to make a report and they send me to Ruimveldt, but I didn’t go, because I was still afraid.”
As days went by, the woman said that the tension between her and the young man and his family grew, with his (suspect’s) mother telling her that things would not look nice if her son goes to jail.
Menezes said that things got even worse when her neighbour’s friend sold her son a stolen phone.
“He didn’t want to give my son back his money when my son realized the phone was stolen, and a night my son was coming home and he robbed and beat up my son,” the woman related.
She claimed that she immediately took her son to the station and made a report of the assault, hidden gun and the threats.
“The police come and hold up a couple of them for 72 hours, and now they come and burn my house,” the woman said.
She said that she is convinced that it was her neighbour and his gang who started the fire because while her house was burning, she went over to a house next door where the gang would allegedly meet up and decide their shares after a robbery, and found gasoline, slippers and papers which she believed were used to start the fire.
The woman said that she is scared to return to the neighbourhood, since the suspect might tried to kill her and her entire family.
The toddler’s mother said that at the time of the blaze, she was in Georgetown trying to arrange cash to buy milk for her baby when she received a call that she should go home immediately.
“When I go home, I see a crowd, and then I realized the house was burnt down and then they tell me that my baby died,” the single parent cried.
Up to press time, Menezes and Seth were with the police giving statements and a description of the suspect as investigation continues.
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