News
June 20, 2014
Family in shock over fiery death of relatives in US

The news that three generations of her family had perished in a house fire in the USA has left Annis Stephens in shock.{{more}}

Stephens, a resident of Sharpesdale, told SEARCHLIGHT on Monday that when she was informed of the incident, she still could not believe what she was hearing.

According to the Associated Press, the fire, in which six of Stephens relatives died, started at around 4 a.m. on Sunday at the family home in Newark, New Jersey.

Dead are Salome Keil-Stewart 58, originally from New Montrose, her husband Reginald Stewart, 58, her daughters Natasha Kinsale-Forbes, 37 and Noreen “Michelle” Keil-Johnson, 43 and her grandchildren Zion Forbes, 11 and Stephon Sydney, 15, who was Noreen’s son.

Salome was Stephens’ sister.

“My brother called and told me that he heard that there was a fire and they were calling at my sister’s house. They were calling her, but she wasn’t answering,” she explained.

“[I felt] real shock and disbelief, because I was waiting on a call from her. She spoke to me on Wednesday and she told me she was going to call me back to do some business and I was waiting on the call, so you could imagine when I got that call to say… I was still calling her you know. Even though I heard, I was calling to see if she would answer the phone.”

While speaking with SEARCHLIGHT, Stephens noted that although her sister left St Vincent and the Grenadines approximately 30 years ago, she (Keil-Stewart) loved her country very much and would often return on holiday.

The sad sister added that Keil-Stewart was scheduled to visit this country at the end of the month, when she intended to visit a woman who had passed the 100-year mark.

“She came from time to time, especially around Carnival. She loved Carnival, so she was supposed to come before, because she wanted to visit a lady who is 100 and something years old. She said she wanted to see her before she died, but she didn’t know that she was going to die before, and she was supposed to come this end of month for Carnival,” Stephens said of her sister, whom she described as a loving and free-handed person.

Additionally, Stephens noted that she had met her eldest niece, Keil-Johnson approximately five years ago, while on holiday in the United States. She revealed that her niece was encouraging her to have a family reunion in St Vincent.

Stephens stated that the funeral will be held in the USA as “it is six of them. I think it’s best to keep them together.”

Keil-Stewart was the daughter of Catherine Keil-Walters of Upper New Montrose. Salome had three daughters, two of whom perished in the fire with her. Her living daughter is Alicia Kinsale-Forbes.

The deceased also had three sisters: Christine Keil-Moultrie in the USA, Sylvena Kudjoe of Trinidad and Tobago and Annis Stephens in St Vincent.

She also had three brothers: Orpen Keil and Anthony Keil in St Vincent and Ruxuas Keil in the USA.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are still being carried out by the police in the USA.