Three-year-old saves house from burning down
June 4, 2010
Three-year-old saves house from burning down

by Don DeRiggs

Rhea McKenzie will be forever thankful for the alertness of her three-year-old son.{{more}}

On Saturday, May 29, Rhea’s son Raul, also fondly called “Kevin”, was able to arouse his mother and alert her that a fire was engulfing the bedroom where she and her two year old daughter Rajita were sleeping. No one else was home at the time.

Rhea was awakened by her son to see melting plastic which was ablaze dropping from the roof on to her mattress. She panicked and scrambled out of the house forgetting her little daughter. Fortunately, two-year old Rajita was rescued through a window from another bedroom, thus averting loss of a precious life.

The Fire department was on the scene in quick time and were able to control the blaze, preventing further damage to the wall building, but by the time the fire tenders arrived, fire had already destroyed all the contents of Rhea’s bedroom and was spreading to other parts of the house.

One fire fighter speaking on condition of anonymity said that many house fires can be avoided if safe practices were adhered to.

He also called for more public service announcements on radio and TV to drive home the importance of safety in the home to avoid fires, electrocution, accidental poisoning and personal injury. He said this year alone there were several house and bush fires, all of which could have been avoided if safe practices had been practised.

On a follow up visit the day after, Rhea’s mother Magdalene Mc. Kenzie and the rest of the family were busy cleaning up what was left of their possessions. What was not destroyed by fire was damaged or destroyed by water, losses that are estimated to be in the thousands of dollars and for a poor family, the fire added additional emotional and financial stress.

Magdalene complained that the family had been experiencing electrical problems ever since they acquired a new washing machine. They said the machine would give a funny heavy sound. She said that technicians came and sorted out what they thought the problem was. An inspection of the circuit breaker revealed that one of the fuses was blown while another fuse had a heavier gauge fuse wire than the normal 15 amp required for domestic wiring.

However, the blown fuse was not found on the outlet circuit but on the light circuit, suggesting that a short circuit could have occurred on that circuit. The home was not insured, therefore the family is now trying to come to grips with how the lost items will be replaced.