Teen struggling with nightmares after family dies in Cummings Lodge fire

The fire at the apartment complex in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown on June 27
The fire at the apartment complex in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown on June 27

By: La’Wanda McAllister

Seventeen-year-old Alani Ifill lost her mother, father and brother in the deadly fire at an apartment complex in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown.

The blaze, which occurred on June 27, claimed the lives of Beverly Miller, Martin Lewis and their son Dawall Ifill – who were all trapped in the building when it was engulfed in flames.

It was a narrow escape for Alani who was not at home at the time of the fatal fire.

But now, he has to live with the fact his parents and siblings are gone forever. Alani is currently staying with his aunt, Desiree Miller.

“We are trying to cope with him because since then, he is having difficulty to sleep. He would wake up in the nights and just down. Most times he would be sulk up and alone. He would just sit there and not say anything. When we ask him if everything is okay, and if anything is bothering him, he would just say yes and that is it. He would get nightmares…,”she explained.

The family believes that the teen still needs time to come to terms with the awful reality.

According to Desiree, it has been a struggle for the entire family, both emotionally and financially.

“Me and my sister would take care of him [Alani]… it’s been hard for us since we lost everything, we do try to see whatever little we have to survive. We living together for now… right now we are not renting, we are staying by my sister for now; because them boys say we not going back in no renting house,” she explained.

The Cummings Lodge fire was suspected to be an act of arson. In fact, moments after the blaze erupted, the grandson of the landlord was arrested after he was seen leaving the premises before the fire began.

However, after two weeks, the man was released.

It is believed by the family that the suspect might have started the fire since the property in which they lived was the source of a dispute between the dead owner’s son, and the landlord’s grandson for a few years.

However, this has not been confirmed, since ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are still investigating.

But Corretta Woolford, another relative, said she is disappointed with the slothfulness of the investigation conducted by the police.

In fact, she claims since the night of the fire, her family along with the other victims have never heard from the police.

“We never hear back anything from the police since then. After the fire, we went and give a statement on the Tuesday, and the police told us they would make contact with us and they never make any contact with us until this day.”

Woolford said it is disturbing for her family since they are seeing the suspect “walking free”.

“He walking the road as free man and three lives gone. I want to know if the three lives that gone is animals. We want to know what is going on with the case. What the Fire Chief says, what caused the fire…three persons died and we can’t know the cause? They driving around…he even stopped me this morning and I walked away because the murderer was in the vehicle,” she said.

The family is demanding justice for the trio, since they believe it will help to put Alani’s minds at ease.