Monday, May 20, 2024

Cause of fatal fire remains a mystery

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Five-year-old Bareth Kaileshan, his mother Bhamini Theiventhiran (right), 39, and grandmother Umadhevi Theiventhiran, 66, all died in the house fire.

The cause of the blaze which killed three family members in their home three days before Christmas is indeterminable, investigators say.

The investigating Fire Risk Management officer Phil Faidley says the cause of the fire “cannot be conclusively determined.”

The fatal fire gutted the two-storey house in Plantation Ave, Flat Bush. There were three survivors.

The house was engulfed in flames in the early hours of the morning on December 22 forcing the owner of the property Kailesh Thanabalasingham to leap out of the top floor window, onto the roof and across the neighbour’s fence.

Dr Arif Saeid, community services manager, Refugees as Survivors-New Zealand, who works with Mr Thanabalasingham, put to rest speculation that there was not a functional smoke alarm in the house.

“Kailesh’s 11-year-old daughter Krishah, who escaped unhurt, told her aunt that she woke up from her sleep on that fateful morning because she heard the smoke alarm,” says Mr Saeid, saddened by the tragic course of events.

“Both she and her grandfather were sleeping on the ground floor bedroom which is why they could run out of the door,” he reasons.

Mr Saeid, who has been associated with the Refugees as Survivors-NZ for 17 years, says Mr Thanabalasingham was available 24/7 for any refugee who needed assistance.

“Even if it someone contacted him on the weekend, he wouldn’t think twice about helping them out. And it wasn’t only Sri Lankans, he was there for refugees of all nationalities,” he says.

According to Mr Saeid, Mr Thanabalasingham’s dad has returned to Canada along with his relatives who flew in from Canada for the funeral service on January 5.

Hundreds of mourners packed the chapel at the Manukau Memorial Gardens, with many spilling outside.

“But Kailesh’s two sisters have stayed back to look after their brother who is still in an induced coma and his daughter,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of smoke inhalation which has affected Kailesh’s lungs. He only opened his eyes once since he has been admitted but couldn’t talk because of the tubes.

“We are not aware if he knows he has lost his five-year-old son, wife and his mother-in-law in the tragedy.”

Five-year-old Bareth Kaileshan, his mother Bhamini Theiventhiran, 39, and grandmother Umadhevi Theiventhiran, 66, all died in the fire.

By: Farida Master

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