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Oct 27, 2016

A Toddler’s Tragic Death In House Fire At Conch Shell Bay

Kaylee Alvarez

Tragedy in Conch Shell Bay as another minor loses her life in a midday fire.  It is the third such incident involving children for the month of October.  This afternoon, residents of the canal-side neighborhood were inconsolable upon learning of the death of two-year-old Kaylee Alvarez.  The little girl was at home with two other siblings, all below the age of five, when a fire ignited inside their wooden abode.  Her siblings were both rescued from the blaze, but when the smoke cleared Baby Kaylee was found motionless inside the bathroom.  It’s a disturbing story, one that has prompted more questions than answers and has left an entire community grief-stricken.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on the scene of the fire.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Two-year-old Kaylee Alvarez, by all accounts a vibrant and sprightly toddler, is the second child to have perished in a house fire since the beginning of October.  A third minor is lucky to have escaped grave harm during a previous incident across town on Wednesday.  The disturbing coincidence here is that in at least two of the three cases, children were reportedly left unattended by their parents.  The tragic loss of Baby Kaylee is a deeply sad reminder of the dangers of leaving kids home alone.


Odessa Orozco, Grandaunt of Deceased

“I deh eena my house deh, di middle house wid my daughter weh pregnant wid twins and her daughter pan di bed and I di sihdown eena di chair di geh ready fi mek Harris go da school.  Somebody holla Phyllis house unda fyah.  I jump up and look through di window, her baby room unda fyah.”


Odessa Orozco

The alarm was immediately sounded and all efforts were made by residents of Conch Shell Bay to respond to the scene of the fire.  Two of three children trapped inside were successfully rescued from the burning wooden structure.  Kaylee was nowhere to be seen.


Odessa Orozco

“I gaan through di corridor deh and den my niece come to me and ask me weh Kaylee deh.  I tell ahn Kaylee no deh ya.  Kaylee noh eena mi yaad.  My God, I still cyant believe it bredda.”


The harsh reality is that the little girl was lost amid the thick, acrid smoke inside the house.  Passing by and witnessing the ensuing commotion was Inspector Fitzroy Yearwood.  He quickly sprang into action.


Fitzroy Yearwood

Insp. Fitzroy Yearwood, Passerby

“I was just passing, going for lunch, saw the crowd behaving in a chaotic manner so I pulled over and then I realized [that] it was a fire.  Myself and another officer that was in my company immediately ran into work mode.  We tried to enter the yard but it was almost impossible and fire personnel were trying to put out the flames.  Well they managed to contain the fire to one house.  Unfortunately, a two-year-old perished in that fire, Kaylee Alvarez.  The mother is saying that she managed to get out with two of them but by the time she tried to go back into the house, the house was already engulfed in flames.  I must say that a lot of people tried to assist out here.  When I got out here they were trying.  I managed to hold down the family because they were all in an emotional wreck but unfortunately the child lost her life.”


According to Operations Officer Benisford Matura, a team of firemen was promptly dispatched to the neighborhood and they wasted no time trying to bring the inferno under control.


Benisford Matura

Benisford Matura, Operations Officer, National Fire Service

“At approximately twelve noon today, we got a call of a house fire on Conch Shell Bay, number two Conch Shell Bay.  Well, immediately the truck from this station and the South Side station was dispatched and from we came out of the gate you could see the thick smoke in the air.  So we know it was real and we did our best to reach there as quickly as possible and got into operation.  Upon arrival there was a wooden house, a bungalow house approximately twenty by twenty-five, totally engulfed in flames and the flames were starting to catch others that were right next to it.  Like three other houses were right next to it.  We managed to extinguish that and about two of the houses got scorched.”


Their attention would suddenly be drawn to the fact that a child was still inside the smoldering edifice.  Her corpse would later be discovered curled up inside the bathtub.


Benisford Matura

“We found the child in the bathroom tub.  This portion where we found the child was the only portion of the building that was made of concrete.  So it was a total, it was a wooden structure with a concrete bathroom.”


Isani Cayetano

“Recovering the body of this child, can you indicate whether there were burns or did the child suffer from suffocation?”


Benisford Matura

“By examining the child’s body I believe, I have a strong belief that she died of suffocation due to smoke inhalation because there was not much burns to the body.  She was in a fetal position curled up in the bathroom tub.”


Details of this tragedy are unnerving.  Kaylee’s grandaunt, Odessa Orozco, empathizes with the Hamilton family.  They lost eleven-year-old Aaron Gabourel in an arson earlier this month.  Gabourel’s cousins also suffered life-threatening injuries during that incident.  Today, Orozco and her niece Phyllis Rhaburn are both grieving a similar loss.


Odessa Orozco

“Di smoke kill da baby.  Ih name Kaylee.  Ih name Kaylee and ih two-years-old.  And my two granddaughter di play wid she dis mawnin eena di yaad and my daughter weh pregnant mi deh ova deh di talk to ih ma and di rest ah di family and dehn di play wid di baby.  Da just dis mawnin mi grand pickney dehn di play wid Kaylee.”


Regrettably, that romping around in the family’s plot stands as their last memory of the toddler. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “A Toddler’s Tragic Death In House Fire At Conch Shell Bay”

  1. Stephen Sweasy says:

    So sad for a child to go down like that. We are making a lot of noise adopting all kind of laws from America, corruption law batty-man law lesbian law drug law why don’t we get the law for our children. When you leave your child unattended charge them and take away the child from them and send them to jail. Children are our future protect them at all cost, I have four children and I am to go before them so I make sure they are taken care of and I usually have topic at home to look after the children first. My oldest is 23 then 16, 10 and 3.

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