GEORGETOWN –– Tears flow down her cheeks as she continues to deny that she needs counseling having had to witness her three-year-old daughter, Bianka Sancho, perish as dozens helplessly stood in front of the raging fire at Vigilance, East Coast Demerara (ECD) last month.
Although she cries daily, Shavane Sancho is trying hard to put the pain she feels behind, so that she can whole-heartedly focus on her three remaining children, Moses, four; Isaiah, five; and three-month-old Briana.
In a recent interview, the 23-year-old woman said, “If they counsel me, they will call her name and I don’t want to hear her name,” before bursting into tears as she sat in the verandah of one of her relative’s home at Vigilance.
Putting aside counseling, the young mother said it was a challenge for her to explain to Bianka’s siblings that she was no more. “They keep asking for her all the time so I had to put them to sit down and explain what happened.”
While it was painful for her to recall, Sancho said that she and all her children could have lost their lives on that fateful day of December 28.
“We got one door and it had a heavy-duty bolt to prevent bandits and all the windows were grilled. My husband usually leaves early in the morning and he locks the door from outside but that morning, he didn’t lock the door or else, all of us would have died,” Sancho said.
The devastated woman related that on the morning of the fire, she got up and cooked food for her partner, Delon Sancho and while doing so, little Bianka got up from her bed and begged her to help out in the kitchen.
“She was a willing child and she was always helpful. She wake up and want help me and I eventually plaited her hair and sent her back to bed,” the woman recounted.
She further explained that after her husband left home for work, she went back to bed. “I wake up in fire. It was all over and it hot like the sun.”
A confused Sancho said that she picked up her baby daughter and rushed to the back door and for almost 15 minutes, she desperately tried to open the door
“I don’t know what happened to me because I was trying to open the door for so long and it aint opening, so I put the baby down on the floor and fighting up to open the door,” she recounted.
As she was trying to get the door open, the 23-year-old woman said that her two sons woke up and rushed to her in tears, “They were crying and stressing me out because I started to panic more. I asked them where their sister is and they say she sleeping.”
The woman said that her intention was to get the door open and send her three children downstairs and then return for little Bianka.
“When I get the door open, my brother was the only one who was there, so I put the baby downstairs and I run up back, but my sons run up back behind me and I telling them to go back downstairs and they only crying and they not moving,” Sancho said.
Fighting to hold back tears, the woman said by the time she got upstairs, the fire had already covered the kitchen and she couldn’t have passed to get to her daughter’s room.
“The fire didn’t reach to the hall yet, so I run downstairs and I try to push up my brother on the verandah so that he could have break the grill and get her because she was still sleeping but my brother fall down back,” the woman related.
She explained that her daughter eventually woke up she heard when the little girl run to the hall crying for her.
“I hear when she run and she say ‘mommy come, mommy come’ but I couldn’t have done anything, because the whole back burnt and was only the front left and no one could have gotten upstairs to help her.”
Sancho lamented that her daughter’s voice slowly died as she was burnt in the blaze.
The next time the devastated mother saw her child was when fire-fighters removed her badly burnt body from the debris.
While the woman could not say what caused the fire, it was confirmed that the blaze was electrical in origin.