Fire in Sentani kills two toddlers
Nethy Dharma Somba
The Jakarta Post
A fire in an employee compound at Kampung Harapan in Sentani, Papua, on Saturday destroyed seven semi-permanent buildings and killed two toddlers, brothers Herice Wally, 4, and Ted John Wally, 3.
The fire, which took place at 9 a.m. local time, razed the buildings quickly as they were mostly makeshift houses made from plywood located adjacent to one another.
When the fire broke out, the mother of the toddlers, Mimi Umbenay, was taking a shower while their father, Meklin Wally, was out to buy groceries. Meanwhile, their two children were playing in one of the empty houses in the compound used by locals as a warehouse.
A witness named Leni Wally was the first to see the fire and she screamed for help.
“When local people were trying to put out the fire, the parents did not know the location of their two children. They heard them screaming, but they died as the blaze razed the wooden buildings,” Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Am Kamal said.
The two victims were found dead in scorched condition after the locals managed to put out the fire.
Kamal said a preliminary investigation suggested that the two victims may have been playing with a match as the warehouse was the first one razed by the fire. The suspicion is supported by witness statements saying that they saw the children with a match a day earlier.
Kamal strongly urged parents to monitor their children when they were playing inside or outside the house for their own safety. (rin)
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