IN AN act of desperation, policeman Shane Ramdath threw his two daughters out a window to save them as their home was burning, during the early morning hours yesterday. Standard Five student Shania Ramdath, 11, and sister Shanice, four, survived but the officer could not save his wife and the girls’ mother Anita, who perished in the flames.
Firemen later found the woman’s burnt remains after they doused the flames which destroyed the top floor of the family’s house in Glenroy Settlement, Princes Town. On Saturday, Anita who worked as a clerk in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court celebrated her 31st birthday. A day later, she was honoured by her family on the occasion of Mother’s Day. A little over 24 hours later, she was dead.
Ramdath who works in the Fraud Squad was yesterday hailed a hero for saving the lives of his daughters. The fire occurred on the top floor of the family’s three-bedroom house at Immortelle Lane at 12.10 am yesterday. The four occupants were asleep at the time and it was the smell of smoke and the crackling sound of the flames which awoke them.
Ramdath immediately went to a nearby bedroom and picked up his two daughters. He threw them out a window and they landed on a concrete platform which leads to a staircase. Police said Ramdath attempted to reach his wife who was still in the master bedroom, but the fire spread rapidly. Facing a fiery death himself, Ramdath jumped through the same window on realising Anita was beyond all help. By this time, residents were alerted and contacted the fire station. Fire Station Officer Jaglal together with other firemen responded and extinguished the flames. “Shania just wrote the SEA (Secondary Entrance Assessment) exam a couple weeks ago. This is really sad. We came out and were trying to out the fire.
“When he threw the girls out the window, neighbours were already there to take them to safety. While the house was burning, people were calling out to Anita but never got a response,” said a neighbour. Another said that PC Ramdath was distraught after he jumped out of the window. “The man was in a state. He was shaking as the realisation set in that he had just lost his wife,” a neighbour said. Efforts to reach PC Ramdath and members of his family for an interview were in vain.
At Anita’s family’s home in Woodland, relatives and friends were gathered to offer support to her mother Anna Ramjitsingh who said she got the tragic news via a phone call at 6 am. Hours earlier, Ramjitsingh said, she kept getting “a bad feeling,” and had problems falling asleep.
“I knew something was going to happen, but I had no idea what it was. I was not thinking it was about Anita or her family. She always had a smile on her face. Anita was a loving child, she was a daughter any mother would be proud to have. We last spoke on Mother’s Day,” Ramjitsingh said.
Shania is a pupil of ASJA Primary School in Princes Town while her younger sister is in kindergarten. They were staying with Ramdath’s relatives in Tableland. Fire personnel are yet to determine the cause of the fire, but preliminary reports are that it could be electrical in nature. An autopsy was expected to be done at the Forensic Science Centre in St James yesterday as investigations were continuing.