The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, has reacted to the tragic news that two sisters ages three and four perished in a house fire on Thursday in Hayesfield, Clarendon, by appealing to parents not to leave their children alone under any circumstance.
According to reports, three-year-old Abigail Tomlinson and four-year-old Mikayla Tomlinson, were left alone in a one-room zinc and concrete structure by their mother.
Residents soon saw fire coming from the dwelling shortly after 11:00 am. Despite the best efforts of the residents, the trapped sisters could not be saved.
The Fire Brigade is investigating the cause of the fire while the police have launched their own probe to determine whether negligence played a part in the death of the sisters.
Meanwhile, McKenzie, in a statement Thursday evening, expressed sadness at the tragic death of the siblings. Describing the incident as “a great tragedy” the minister appealed to Jamaicans to avoid leaving children unattended.
“The information is that the children’s mother left them in the house to do something nearby and on her return, the structure was ablaze. The Jamaica Fire Brigade responded quickly but arrived to find a scene of devastation,” McKenzie said.
He noted that “Both parents have been hospitalised arising out of the trauma of losing their young ones in this terrible way. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to all their relatives, friends and the community of Haylesfield.”
“While the Fire Brigade and the police are still investigating the incident, I must once again appeal to, and urge my fellow citizens to do everything possible to avoid leaving children by themselves,” McKenzie added.