Girl, 8, and aunt perish in fire …. ARSON SUSPECTED

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Police and fire officials suspect arson in the fire which claimed the lives of Alliyah Primus, eight, and her aunt Nolene ‘Neisha’ Gopaul, 40, on Friday.

They perished in a fire which destroyed their home in Moruga which also left 13 people homeless.

According to fire officials, the speed at which the fire gutted the house, is an indication that the fire could have been deliberately set. Both bodies were found near the staircase, indicating that the girl and her aunt were trying to escape but became trapped.

According to reports, at about 2 am, Alliyah’s relatives were awakened by crackling sounds and realized their house was on fire. After the occupants ran out of the burning house, a head count was done and both Alliyah and Gopaul, who slept together, were unaccounted for.

Units from the Princes Town Fire Station responded and after the flames were doused, firemen came across the burnt, skeletal remains of the child and her aunt. Alliyah’s cousin Lexi Butcher, eight, suffered burns to her right arm while her mother Natalie Gopaul suffered cuts. No one else was injured.

Alliyah was a student at the Fifth Company Baptist Primary School. Her mother, Nicole Gopaul, 32, was not at home when the fire broke out.

Alliyah’s aunt and Nicole’s twin sister, Nikeisha Mitchell, recalled that her niece had breathing problems as a newborn and was on life support for three days.

Alliyah kept asking her mother to keep a thanksgiving in celebration of life. “She kept asking her mother to keep a thanksgiving for her. Two weeks ago, we had the thanksgiving for Alliyah who was her mother’s only child,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said her sister and Alliyah shared a close bond, hence the reason why they shared the same bed.

Mitchell added, “Neisha did housekeeping and masonry with a construction firm. She was supposed to go to Las Cuevas beach on Sunday.”

Grandfather Lincoln Elvin, 70, said he was awakened by the crackling sounds of fire and went outside.

He immediately alerted his wife and other relatives.

“I asked who was missing and they said Alliyah and Neisha.

We called out to them but heard nothing. There was no bawling. The fire people found them later.”

Alliyah Primus, eight, and her aunt Nolene ‘Neisha’ Gopaul

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