Deadly fire: Arson suspected, man arrested
A fire on Saturday evening which destroyed an apartment building and claimed the lives of three family members at Sixth Street, Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, is believed to have been deliberately set.
The suspect, who is the grandson of the late property owner, was taken into Police custody shortly after the fire started.
According to one of the tenants, Cleon Williams, the suspect had just left the building when the fire started.
“He went upstairs and then five minutes after he go away, the fire started,” Williams said. The fire started in the upper flat of the building.
Williams lost his aunt Beverly Miller, uncle Martin Lewis and cousin Dawall Ifill in the fire.
Williams said he tried to save the family, but the fire started at the front of the building right above his aunt’s apartment. The apartment was heavily grilled and it is believed the family was trapped inside.
“I know we tried to save them but we couldn’t, all the grill locked,” Williams said.
Beverly’s sister, Desiree Miller said the building is the source of a dispute between the deceased owner’s son and the suspect who was arrested at the scene.
She told the media that in 2019, herself and other relatives who rent apartments in the building were told to relocatw since the building was sold by the owner’s son.
However, they were subsequently told to stay and pay a reduced rent because the agreement of sale was quashed.
“Last year, I can’t remember what date this place sell and right now they got a dispute but they’re saying that everyone must not move as they coming together to pay back the man who buy the place…” she recalled.
Miller further noted, “the owner’s son sold the place but after they (grandson and daughter) come in now, they got some dispute and told us not to move.”
Miller’s rent was reduced from $46,000 to $40,000 while the rent for others were reduced to $35,000.
The charred remains of the family were removed by undertakers from the Lyken Funeral Home.
Beverly and her husband’s body were found huddled together while their son’s body was found separate in the same room.
An investigation is ongoing.