Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Parents under fire

Published:Saturday | February 2, 2019 | 12:00 AM
In this February 1 photograph, a woman peers through a doorway of the fire-gutted home where twin girls perished. Three homes were destroyed and 21 people displaced, including six children.
A broken tricycle lies on the floor blackened from ash and soot from Thursday night’s fire which claimed the lives of twin girls as they slept at home in Grants Pen, Kingston.

Parents and guardians of children who die in fires have been warned that they are legally accountable and could be prosecuted if there is prima facie evidence of negligence.

Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), said her organisation has an ongoing public-education campaign geared at promoting responsible childcare protocols, but some caregivers appear not to have got the message.

“The law says whoever has custody and care of a child is ultimately responsible for them, and so we have been, through our public-education efforts, seeking to sensitise parents to the need to exercise proper supervision and care for the children,” Gage-Grey told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon.

“In a general sense, that’s what we’ve been doing.”

Gage-Grey was speaking in the wake of two-year-old twin girls, Nahelia and Nahalia Pinnock, perishing in a fire at Grants Pen, St Andrew, on Thursday night. As investigations continue into the incident, the CPFSA head steered clear of judgement in the instant case.

Her agency is offering support to the family, who have been shattered by the tragedy.

“We are saddened by the events there. We have sent in our first responders. One of our directors who lives not too far from there did go on the scene very early in the morning, and then our first responders are there and are doing some work with the guidance of the police on the ground and will continue to provide support to the family,” Gage-Grey revealed.

“As you know, it is very traumatic, and there are other children in the community, and we have to provide some intervention for them,” she said.


Reports from the Grants Pen police are that about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, residents saw fire coming from a house and summoned law enforcers and the fire department. The first fire truck that arrived had no water, The Gleaner learnt, and some time elapsed before two other units reached the premises. When cooling-down operations were completed, the charred remains of the twins were found in a bedroom in the house.

The twins were reportedly said to have been in the care of either their grandmother or uncle when the fire occurred. Nahelia and Nahalia’s mother was said to be at work.

Two other houses on the property were damaged by the fire.

Jodi-Ann Mythern, cousin of the deceased, said that the family is having a hard time coping with the loss.

“We not taking it easy because you have so many things that are lost and the kids that were there. There were two children that was there different from the twins. They are traumatised. My sister lives near, too. Her two children are traumatised, and my mother is stressing out and all of that, crying, but we a try fi get help and a try fi make things work as [best as] possible,” she said.