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Aug 29, 2013

Two children are saved from a burning apartment

Two toddlers were pulled out of a house engulfed in a blazing fire this morning in the Lake Independence area. The two children, one four and the other three years old, were home alone in an apartment when the fire erupted. The father was at work and the mother had left them briefly to run an errand. Two Good Samaritans bravely rescued the children by breaking down the front door that was locked from outside. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Certain tragedy was averted this morning when two courageous neighbors entered a burning apartment building on Canondale Street in Belize City and rescued a pair of siblings.  Shortly before midday, residents observed a plume of smoke emanating from a one-story complex.  Trapped inside was four-year-old Shevaughn Reneau and his three-year-old sister Sheneika.  Sounding the alarm was a neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous.

 

Voice of: Neighbor

“I was inside my sister’s room cooking and I heard some screams.  But my kids and my sister’s kids were outside playing so I didn’t pay it any mind but then the screams got louder.  When I came outside to see what was the matter there were two kids at the window screaming at each other trying to get out but the window [was jarred].  They couldn‘t get out of the window I guess.  So, I ran to my brother-in-law and I asked him to please help, please help.”

 

Upon hearing the frantic screams of the cornered pair, Kenrick Middleton sprang into action, risking his own life by breaching the front door of Apartment Number Seven.

 

Kenrick Middleton

Kenrick Middleton, Responder

“I heard my sister-in-law come out screaming fire, fire, she needs help.  So when I opened my door I saw a puff of smoke on top of the building and the other guy from [Apartment] Number Twelve stomped open the door.  When he done stomp open the door I went in and rescued the two children from the amount of smoke that was in there.  If they were in there five minutes more they’d be dead.”

 

According to Deon Cacho whose residence is adjacent to the gutted flat, he was inside his room when he heard the commotion nearby.

 

Deon Cacho, Responder

Deon Cacho

“Actually, I mi di watch TV and I hyah di next door neighba di bawl out fi help and then dehn seh some kids mi deh eena di room weh di ketch fyah.  So when I run out I sih smoke di cohn through di window.  So I just holla fi like hail wah next man and then he come and help me stomp open di door and when we stomp open di door he run eenside and haul out the two kids.”

 

In the act of rescuing the toddlers Middleton’s hair, including his eyelashes were singed.  He says police response to the scene of the fire was almost immediate.

 

Kenrick Middleton

“The police came first and about ten or fifteen seconds after that the fire engine truck came and they hooked up all the hoses and they tried to out the fire since they reached here.”

 

Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura of the National Fire Service, in speaking with the media, says that the mother, twenty-five-year-old Shanelle Robinson, had left her two children inside the home and stepped out momentarily.  The fire erupted in her absence.

 

Benisford Matura, National Fire Service

“She left them to run an errand and she left them for about twenty-five minutes.  Shevaughn received minor burns to his ears and a portion of his head, to the back of his head, while Sheneika received minor scorches to her hands.  The quick movement of the neighbors saved the children because they tore down the door and pulled the children out.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“This seems to be a joint investigation being carried out by the police department, as well as the fire service.  Do you know if any charges, either for negligence or otherwise, would be brought against the parent?”

 

Benisford Matura

“When it comes to the police side of it there might be charges for neglect because she did leave the kids there home alone and they were locked in the apartment so she might be charged for that.”

 

The apartment complex is the property of businessman James Young.  An investigation into the origin of the fire remains ongoing.  Meanwhile, it is unclear at this time whether the building or its contents were insured. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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