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Dec 1, 2015

The Hostel Fire Tragedy Revisited

The families of three fire victims who perished inside a padlocked room at the Princess Youth Hostel are still reeling over their horrific deaths. Today, the families of the minors received their charred remains prompting deep emotions and pain. Two of the minors were interned at the facility for a year, but the other enrolled there just two weeks ago. Tonight, Duane Moody speaks to those who knew them well and has the following report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

How and why Shadisha Arnold, Elizabeth McKoy and Ana Carlos perish in a fire at the Princess Royal Youth Hostel is still under investigation? But for their families and friends; it is unacceptable since there is every indication that a breach of protocol and procedure at the facility led to their demise. The trio perished on Saturday afternoon in a most horrific way pad locked inside a room at miles twenty-one on theGeorge Price Highway. The reality is setting in for the families as they receive the charred bodies of their daughters.

 

Patricia Contreras Trujillo, Mother of Ana Carlos

Patricia Contreras Trujillo

“My daughter from the girls home called me and told me that Ana and two other girls just burned in a house at the hostel in a room, They locked them up and they just burned. I got a way and I went home and when I got home I saw my mom started to cry and she wanted to collapse and I tell her what happened and she said she already know about it.”

 

Victoria McKoy Claunch

Victoria McKoy Claunch, Mother of Elizabeth McKoy

“I did not want to believe what happened; that the Social Worker, Miss Vernon called me and said it is true and I didn’t know what to do…I couldn’t believe it.Yes she was taken there about two or three weeks ago, but I asked them to please take her somewhere else but they took her where they wanted. I was asking to go visit her and they said no.”

 

Arnold and Carlos were at the institution for over a year, while McKoy had just recently become a resident at the youth hostel about two weeks ago. The families say they trusted that their daughters would be safe at the institution.

 

Patricia Contreras Trujillo

“I know she wanted to be with me, she was with my my sisters and she wasn’t happy. When she was with me she was happy but they took her away from me and they just put her in that hostel. It wasn’t my choice for her to go there. They said I wasn’t a fit mother so they didn’t want her to stay with me that why they went and report it and social just came and take away my daughter from me. So who is the fit one now, if I wasn’t fit enough?”

 

Victoria McKoy Claunch

“Of course I regret sending my baby there…I am sorry, my baby was such as sweet girl…I am sorry I sent her there. I am so sorry. I wish the lord can forgive me, but I know there will be no forgiveness for me for what I did. I was wrng and I am sorry and that is not even the word to say; there’s no way to describe that, I don’t know.”

 

The tragedy has affected many since the girls leave behind numerous family members, friends and schoolmates. Fourteen year old Elizabeth McKoy had just graduated from the St. Martin De Porres Primary School and was in first form at theAnglicanCathedralCollege. According to her former teachers, there are many unanswered questions.

 

Melissa Gonzalez, Teacher, St. Martin De Porres Primary School

Melissa Gonzalez

“It was very shocking…like why she, why she. I had many questions between myself, why, what went wrong of my knowing that it was her. It was last week Tuesday that she would come and visit us after school and she came and hug us and have that loving aspect between us and .it was very difficult for me coming here Monday and knowing that she was in my class and how she used to be in class and it was one of my daughters that I had for two years.”

 

Raymond McFadzean

Raymond McFadzean, Teacher, St. Martin De Porres Primary School

“She was a bright young girl with a bright future ahead of her and it is such a tragedy, it is an unfortunate case but it has touced us here at St. Martin De Porres knowing that she was just starting school, just starting life and it is very heart wrenching for us as the staff here and some of the students also that she graduated with.”

 

The families intend to seek justice for the death of their daughters.

 

Victoria Claunch

“If it’s the last thing I do, till I dieI will sue; I will sue. I want justice.”

 

Ismay Williams, Cousin of Elizabeth McKoy

Ismay Williams

“We as the family members are alongside my aunt—because she is my aunt and Elizabeth was my little cousin—and we are going to seek justice for her. Even for the next two little girls that died along with my cousin, we are going to be the voice for those girls because they are dead and gone and they can’t speak. But we are the voice for them because those girls really didn’t deserve to die the way they did.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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