Infant burnt to death at home

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, May 26th 2011

A nine-month-old infant was burnt to death when a home caught fire at Bihute Jail, outside Goroka, Eastern Highlands, last Tuesday.
The mother had left her baby son sleeping in the house and went outside to do gardening in the backyard when the house caught fire.
It is believed the fire started from an electrical fault in the bedroom where the infant had been sleeping.
The father, Paul Warkiawa, a prison warder, was on duty while his two elder sons and the mother were out of the house.
The fire started at midday and aided by a dry wind quickly reduced the old colonial home to ashes.
Bystanders could not rescue the child as the fire became hotter.
The Warkiawa family lost thousands of kina worth of property in the fire.
They were left with the clothes they were wearing.
Prison warders at Bihute expressed grave concern at the dilapidated condition of their accommodation.
The warders said in Goroka yesterday they were living in run-down houses that posed a huge fire risk.
 “The government has completely forgotten about our welfare as well as that of our families, the house that caught fire where the little baby burnt to death is not a surprise because we have been at great risk by living in those houses,” one of them said.
The other officer said the Correctional Services Department must address the situation.
Several attempts to contact Bihute Jail commander Simon Lakeng yesterday were unsuccessful.