Did the absence of brotherly love cause the death of 3-yr-old Breanka Sancho?
By Leroy Smith
Three-year-old Breanka Sancho of Vigilance South Squatting area had a wonderful Christmas holiday with her parents and siblings in 2016 but it would be her final Christmas with her family as they entered 2017 without her. Breanka died two days before the start of the New Year.
On December 30th, 2016 she was alone in the front room of their home fast asleep while her mother and her other siblings, ages 5, 4 years old and one 4 months old were sleeping in the back room of the house when they were awoken by smoke, the father had already left for work.
Within minutes the entire house was engulfed in flames and efforts to get to the three-year-old were hampered due to thick smoke. The mother Shavane Sancho was forced to decide between trying to rescue her daughter who was trapped in the room, or run to safety with her other children via the only exit the house had; the back door, she chose the latter.
Speaking with the News Room on Saturday morning (January 14, 2017), the woman who continues to relive the moments of that unfortunate day believes that if persons who saw the smoke coming from the house had raised an alarm, her daughter might have been alive today.
“I feel real bad, I left without a home, I left without a three-year-old child. 2017 November she would have been four, done turn out to school. She left mommy just wondering, just studying how she burn. Everybody see the smoke and nobody ain’t call me to say the place burning but she done gone already” the heartbroken woman related.
The woman said she cannot recall all that happened on that fateful day except that she opened her eyes and saw the smoke in the roof of the building and rushed to get her children to safety even as she became confused.
She explained that as she ordered the other two children to go outside and take the four-month-old baby with them, they refused and kept following her back to the front room where Breanka was trapped.
By then, the entire kitchen area which is located close to the back door; the only exit and entrance to the house, was engulfed in flames and she had to make a decision. Shavane said she decided to again get the other children to safety and ran back through the fire to rescue her 3-year-old but the smoke prevented her from doing much.
“I did done give up after the door was not opening so I said that I cannot do anything and the only way to get out of this place was to leave through the back doo so I had to leave her.”
By this time, the community came out in spectator mode as no one dared crossed the only step the house had, to get into the building. Shavane Sancho related that called on her brother to attempt gaining access to the trapped child by using the veranda but that too proved a challenge.
She told the News Room that the heavy grillwork on the house, the one entrance and exit to the building the reluctance of people living close by to alert her that smoke was coming from the house all contributed to the child’s death.
“I calling for she, Breanka get up, fire, fire and to try to get my brother to jump up the landing because is only one step we have and to get he to jump up but he fall down and knock he back, but the grill on the window delay lil time too, grill delay a set of time, when she wake up she hollering, mommy, mommy come but no one to help save her, no one” the woman said.
Asked how as a mother she feels now having to live with the fact that she was forced to walk away and leave her screaming child to die, Shavane Sancho told the News Room that “I feel real bad…I trying my best to hold it up to give my husband the strength, he was not coming next to me, he was by himself and I was by myself with them kids, it’s hard.”
She said if she had decided to remain in the house trying to save the child, then the other children would have ran back into the house and they all might have been dead today.
Shavane Sancho told the News Room that on Thursday last, the five-year-old boy asked her for Breanka, with tears in her eyes, she recalled telling him that Breanka is no longer with them and that she was burnt in the house.
The response reportedly caused the child to retreat and went into a corner and stayed by himself for the rest of the day.
The family is now with a cousin of Shavane Sancho to the front of the village even as she and her husband have commenced sourcing some building materials to enclose the lower flat of their home to move back in as quickly as possible.
On the day of the fire, police and firefighters observed that the house which was not being powered by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) however, it had some illegal wires connecting the house to a utility pole in the area.
The Guyana Fire Service soon determined that the fire was started as a result of the illegal connection.
On the morning of the fire, the coast land was being battered by heavy rainfall and winds.