KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday January 16, 2018 – Two girls – aged 12 and 16 – died last night in an inferno that razed a children’s home in Jamaica’s capital.
The fire broke out at the privately-run Walker’s Place of Safety in Kingston around 11 p.m., according to police, killing two of the 36 residents.
“The loss is quite devastating as two children died in the fire. Steps are being taken to contact the parents and to start counselling for them,” State Minister for Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green said this morning.
Devastatingly two children died in the fire. Their names and descriptions are being withheld as we take steps to contact the families and also start counselling
— Floyd Green (@floydgreenja) January 16, 2018
He said the other 34 children and staff at the home have been temporarily relocated to a nearby church, and counselling is being provided for them.
“The priority now is to guide them through this difficult time and ensure that we get the essential items that they need. We have already started to get critical supplies, such as medication for those children who are ill. We are moving now to find a suitable location, so that we can move the children and ensure that they are more comfortable,” Green said.
He added that investigations have been launched to determine the cause of the blaze at the facility which serves as a transitional residence for children who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.
“The fire service has commenced their investigation. We are awaiting their report. The Child Protection and Family Services Agency will also do their own investigation to see what transpired,” Green added.
The now gutted facility provided food and shelter for residents, along with access to educational services and health care.