A Fontenoy family was plunged into mourning early Sunday morning, after a fire claimed the lives of 2 infants aged 3 years old and 7 weeks.
Jamal Frederick and his younger brother Javonte, perished in the blaze, which gutted the top floor of their 2 storey board and wall framed home, sometime between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.
The older brother, 5-year-old Jamori managed to escape unharmed.
When THE NEW TODAY visited the family on Monday morning, the grieving mother of the deceased children, Alisha Lewis, did not wish to speak.
However, well placed sources revealed that the tragic incident occurred moments after the mother left the house to visit the neighbourhood supermarket referred to as the ‘Depo,’ which is approximately five-minutes walk from the home.
According to the source, the children were left asleep on a bed inside a room on the top floor of the house.
The remains of the 3-year-old were retrieved on the bed, while the baby was found on the floor downstairs.
Family members were a bit reluctant to speak with reporters and expressed disgust with the “insensitive” manner in which a particular online media source conducted coverage of the tragedy.
However, an aunt of the deceased infants told this newspaper that before the mother could have reached the supermarket, she received a call that her house was on fire.
The house is located behind two other houses and adjacent to another two other houses in the same yard.
Fortunately, the fire was contained by an arriving fire tender and it did not spread to the other neighbouring abandoned houses .
According to a sister of the grieving mother who was at the time of the incident located downstairs the front house getting ready for church, she only became aware of the fire when she went upstairs to check on her grandfather after hearing a loud thump as if he had fallen to the floor.
Speaking with THE NEW TODAY, the great grandfather of the deceased children said, he fell to the floor twice as he made his way to the kitchen window to have a look after hearing unusual noises coming from the back of the house.
Unfortunately, when they looked out the window the fire had already consumed the entire top floor of Alisha’s house.
“She (Alisha) told me she was going to the shop and I tell her to buy that (some groceries) for me,” the great grandfather told reporters noting, that the fire took place “not too long after she (Alisha) left to go to the shop.”
The great grandfather said, he will always remember 3-year-old Jamal running around and playing in the yard.
This newspaper also spoke with a woman of the village who expressed deep sorrow about the deaths.
The woman, who was very acquainted with young Jamal through an early learning simulation programme administered by Grenada Citizen Advice and Small Business (GRENCASE) said, she usually held sessions with him at least twice weekly.
“He was three months old when I started stimulation exercises with him…Jamal was a nice, brave, loving little boy…every Tuesdays and Thursdays, my co-worker and I come here and teach Jamal. We get along with him very well, we sang with him and he knows colours, he could identify everything,” she revealed.
“I feel really hurt…like if Jamal was my kid. Yesterday, I could not eat…it is really painful, “she said.
During Monday morning’s visit, THE NEW TODAY met officials from the Ministry of Social Development at the home reaching out to the grieving family.
While present at the burnt out house, three individuals best described as friends of the family, stopped by with some generous donations of foodstuff and toiletries.
THE NEW TODAY also spoke with the father of the deceased children who did his best to maintain his composure.
The grieving father revealed that the elected Member of Parliament for the St. George North West constituency, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell visited with the family on his return from an overseas trip, moments after the Sunday morning tragedy.
In a statement issued via the Government Information Service (GIS) on Monday, Dr. Mitchell said the following:
“There are no words to express the deep loss and the great sorrow the people of Fontenoy in North West St. George, and by extension, this Nation, are feeling, as we have lost two of our most precious angels in a tragic house fire.
“As the Parliamentary Representative for the Constituency, and as Prime Minister of this Nation, I offer my most profound sympathy and my heartfelt prayers to Ms. Alisha Lewis and her family. I am truly sorry for your loss. I know that the days ahead will be extremely difficult for you, but always remember that God is there to comfort you and hold your hand.
“I want you to know as well, that I will be there with you, and so will the Government and People of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
“May you find peace and strength in this difficult season and may the souls of your two beautiful babies rest in perfect peace.
The cause of the deadly house fire is still unknown.
Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the affected family is currently residing with Alisha’s sister, who lives higher up in the Fontenoy community