5 Months Old And 18 Months Old Die In House Fire

Lilieth Knight would love nothing more than to wave a magic wand and erase the tragic and traumatic events that befell her on Friday evening. But this morning, she still has no choice but to accept the fact that her two infant grandchildren were burned alive in her home at 219 Spanish Town Road in Kingston.

Even more depressing for Knight is the fact that her daughter - the children's mother who Knight told the Sunday Observer was 17 years old - was blamed for the deaths and taken into police custody after the blaze was brought under control.

"That's all me lose. Not the fridge, not the TV, my two grandpickney dem. Mi two pretty grandpickney dem," Knight said as she took the Sunday Observer through the torched remains of her home.

Knight told the Sunday Observer that she was not at her home - a small tenement neatly tucked away between two other houses on an area of land - when the incident took place, but arrived to see the house ablaze.

"When I reached the top (Spanish Town Road) I saw smoke coming out from in the area. When I came round the lane I saw the big fire," she explained. "Not one of the baby them, not even one I could have saved," she wailed.
Residents were not able to say what caused the blaze, but speculated that a candle may have overturned in the house. The Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) reported that at approximately 7:45 pm 18-month old Retania Powell and her five-month old sister Shanique Brown were left in the house by their mother, who went to a nearby shop. On the mother's return, however, the house was seen engulfed in flames.

The Fire Brigade was summoned and a unit each from the Trench Town and York Park Fire Departments was dispatched to the location. The two units successfully extinguished the blaze.
As the charred remains of the house were searched, the burnt bodies of the infants were discovered.

The Sunday Observer was unable to find out from the Hunts Bay Police, who are investigating, whether the teen mother was charged with an offence.
Knight, however told the newspaper that she received a call from the police telling her to carry clothes and toiletries for her daughter as they were taking her to a location in Duhaney Park.

If investigations prove that Knight's daughter is to be blamed for the death of the children then legal action can be taken against her under section nine of the Child Care and Protection Act, and section 28 of the Offences Against the Person Act, which allow for parents or guardians who leave their children in circumstances that endanger their lives and health to be charged for abandonment or cruelty to a child.

Friday's deaths bring to at least five the number infants who have been killed in fires this year after allegedly being left by their parents/guardians. On New Year's Day, two year-old Nikalia Nelson of 7 Newton Street, Falmouth, Trelawny died after a fire caused by an electric short circuit gutted her home. She was allegedly left unattended in a room by her 19 year-old aunt.
On New Year's Eve, four year-old Lamar Bennett and his two-year old sister Serena Brown died when fire destroyed their home in Frome, Westmoreland. The two had allegedly been abandoned by their mother.

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